Letter: Mowing milkweed extinguished monarchs’ beauty

Letter: Mowing milkweed extinguished monarchs’ beauty


To the editor:

Your editorial about the vanishing monarch butterflies has encouraged me to relate an incident which shows another cause for their declining numbers.

In August, two years ago, as I was walking up from Main Road through the Eight Rod Farm (managed by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife), I noticed many milkweed plants growing in the meadow. On closer inspection there were leaves covered with tiny green egg clusters as well as small monarch caterpillars.

I looked more closely at the field and discovered several large areas of milkweed plants, all being happily devoured by hundreds of fascinating monarch larvae. Week by week I watched as they grew and started to “hang up” and pupate. Then … the field was mowed.

Why the DEM should allow that to be done, I shall never know. The hay for feed or bedding was useless and the field is still just a meadow. But how much beauty was extinguished by one act of poorly timed thoughtlessness.

Isobel Hart