TulsaPets Magazine September 2021

September/October 2021 • TulsaPets 19 added, symbolically representing the journey of the monarch. The northernmost point starts with Oxley Nature Center (rep- resenting Canada) and ends at the Audubon Society’s Flycatcher Trail in Jenks (repre- senting Mexico). The mobile migration will begin on September 17 and run through the weekend, with multiple locations to visit and signage detailing the life cycle and stag- es of monarchs related to their migration. A detailed map listing each location can be found on sustainabletulsainc.org/motm/ mobile-migration/. A Planting Day also was added last year. This year’s Planting Day will be held on September 19. Participants can plant milkweed and pollinator plants at various gardens around town, with some locations requiring sign-up ahead of time. “The planting events were very popular last year. It was fun seeing how enthusias- tic people were,” Hawkins said. “The idea is that people can have ownership in our public spaces. When they go back to see the garden in its various stages, they will feel like it is their garden.” The final event of the festival will be a series of online educational presentations that the group has dubbed Monarch Media Monday. For those interested in starting their own butterfly garden at home, Hawkins says she likes to tell people to start where they can. “If you are in an apartment and you have a flowerpot and room to plant milkweed, start there,” Hawkins said. “Another way of thinking about it is, ‘What are you doing to inhibit pollinators? Are you planting pollinators to attract these insects and then calling to have the mosquitoes sprayed?’ People often don’t connect these actions to the decline of our pollinators.” Once you have planted your milkweed and pollinators, be patient. “Sometimes it takes a little bit of time for [monarchs] to find you, and once they find you, you are likely to become fairly popular, and they will come back,” Hawkins encouraged. Tom Clark, who leads the Roots and Shoots program for middle schoolers at Riv- erfield Country Day School, a sponsor of Monarchs on the Mountain, said the group has traditionally hosted a monarch release at the festival. “In years past, we have had a release event, where the Roots and Shoots kids and I and a couple of faculty members, if we have adult monarchs, tag those mon- archs,” Clark said. “We will give any of the participants there a number and write down the tag number and give that to the child or parent, and they can see if their monarch is recovered [in Mexico] at some point.” Whether there is a release event this year depends on both COVID-19 protocols and the number of adult monarchs the group collects and has ready at the time of the festival. However, the group will put together a video detailing the proper way to tag monarchs that will be available as part of Monarch Media Monday. Monarch butterflies can travel as much as 3,000 miles by the time they arrive at their overwintering location in El Rosario, Mex- ico. When spring comes, they head north again, taking four generations of butterflies to get back to Canada. One might wonder how such a delicate-looking creature can travel so far. “They are great gliders; they don’t have to beat their wings constantly,” Clark said. “What a monarch is looking for is a north wind. It gets up in the air, and it sets its wings kind of like a turkey vulture does, and it just surfs. They have to come down in the evening, and that’s the neat thing because there will be places in town or in a park or in the country, and they roost for the night. You will have hundreds and hundreds of monarchs who say, ‘OK, this is the camp- ground, this is our KOA for tonight.’ And if they have got a field that has native plants, monarchs will nectar on any plant that has nectar; the milkweed is only critical for the caterpillar.” Milkweed is the exclusive food source for monarch caterpillars and the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs. That is one reason the event will focus on the sale and planting of milkweed. “If you don’t have milkweed, you don’t have monarchs. Are they critical? Would society, would the world still go on without monarchs?” Clark queried. “We are getting along fine without the passenger pigeon and all these different species that are extinct. But I think our spirits are diminished some when you lose something like that.” Planting Day will be part of the Monarchs on the Mountain event at various locations on September 19. Monarchs on the Mountain For full details on all of the events, visit: https://sustainabletulsainc.org/motm/ September 17–19 Mobile Migration, various locations September 18 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the pavilion on Turkey Mountain September 19 Planting Day, various locations (sign-up might be required, depending on location) September 20 Monarch Media Monday, online educational presentations Online Resources • journeynorth.org • monarchwatch.org • okiesformonarchs.org