A highway for butterflies

By: Aimee Junget

Nokomis Naturescape Pollinator Garden.jpg

Monarchs make a longer journey than most of us will in our summer road trips, traveling from Canada to Mexico as they migrate. Humans have highways to get us from point A to point B with plenty of food, rest stops, and signs to help us on our way, so why shouldn’t monarchs have the same? In an initiative to restore habitat for monarch butterflies along their journey, a joint effort between The Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, Metro Blooms, Master Water Stewards, our CCM crew, and additional volunteers led to the creation of the Monarch Mile. The Monarch Mile is a stretch of 17 gardens installed along East 50th street in the Longfellow neighborhood near Lake Nokomis. The gardens run between two larger pollinator gardens: The Gateway Gardens near the intersection of East 50th Street and Hiawatha Ave and the Nokomis Naturescape located where East 50th Street meets the lake.

The gardens are an effort toward habitat continuity and an increase in native prairie plants that pollinators need to thrive. In agreement with homeowners, the gardens were installed on the boulevards along the corridor by first removing sod, working the soil to be conducive to planting, and, finally, planting native forbs for pollinators to enjoy. It’s all an effort to improve our urban ecosystem and, hey, it doesn’t hurt if it looks pretty, too! Perhaps the Monarch Mile near Nokomis will inspire more “highways” to be built to help out our pollinators. Monarch butterflies make a remarkable journey and we are lucky to have them pass through, so why not help them along their way!