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ACTC a Certified Monarch Waystation
Kentucky Ag Connection - 09/20/2019

Each fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to mountains in central Mexico where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is truly one of the world's greatest natural wonders, yet it is threatened by habitat loss at overwintering grounds in Mexico and throughout breeding areas in the United States and Canada, according to MonarchWatch.org.

That's why Ashland Community and Technical College is doing its part to become more environmentally friendly and has recently been recognized as a certified Monarch Waystation.

"We are transforming the landscapes here at ACTC to be environmentally friendly, sustainable and low maintenance," said Paul Seasor, director of maintenance and operations. "We have a long-range plan for the lawn and landscape, which has allowed us to become a Tree Campus USA for four consecutive years, and now we have been recognized as a Monarch Waystation."

Each Monarch Waystation gives the monarch butterfly an area where they can receive resources necessary for their yearly migration from their breeding grounds in North America to their overwintering grounds in Mexico, Seasor said.

Many other species of butterflies and bees have also taken advantage of the habitat.

Some of the plants that have been added around campus are butterfly milkweed and common milkweed, which are host plants for monarch butterflies. ACTC also has black-eyed Susan, cosmos, lantana, verbena, zinnia and purple coneflower, which are nectar plants for monarch butterflies.

"The things we are doing with our landscape areas show that we do more than just talk about being environmentally friendly, we are putting those words to work," Seasor said. "All this is important, especially the Monarch Waystation, because a large amount of habitat for insects, especially monarchs, is being destroyed in the U.S. at a rate of 6,000 acres a day."

According to Monarch Watch, anyone can help to create monarch habitats in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, zoos, nature centers, along roadside, and on other unused plots of land. Creating a Monarch Waystation can be as simple as adding milkweeds and nectar sources to existing gardens or maintaining natural habitats with milkweeds. No effort is too small to have a positive impact.

To find out more about Monarch Waystations, visit https://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations.

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