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MVP to promote Monarch butterfly survival with mural, contests

MADISON – Madison Visionary Partners or MVP is coordinating an effort to bolster the population of Monarch butterflies that migrate through Madison.

MVP has received funding from Huntsville Area Association of Realtors or HAAR, Toyota Alabama and private individuals to create a mural of a Monarch butterfly. This artwork will be painted at The Avenue Madison apartments outside of Honest Coffee, 85 Shorter St. in downtown Madison.

Work on the mural will begin this spring. To celebrate this public asset, MVP is leading a community project to encourage residents and businesses to plant more pollinator gardens.

Bailey Erickson, local volunteer and owner of Wafel-Bitte LLC, is leading the venture for volunteers in Madison. “The Monarch butterfly is Alabama’s state insect and is in need of our help. The Monarch population has declined by 90 percent due to insecticides, urban sprawl, climate change (and other factors),” Erickson said.

“Madison is a stop on the Monarch’s journey from Mexico, and we are trying to provide them with more food to stay strong and for the Monarch population to increase,” Erickson said.

The community project for the Monarch is in the early planning stages. “MVP is asking for community and business input, as well as for sponsors, to help fund a community-wide competition and community plant swap day,” MVP Executive Director Melanie Thornton said.

To ‘feed’ the butterflies, milkweed and nectar sources are the best options for Monarchs. Examples of plant types are aquatic milkweed, orange or yellow butterfly weed, Pinewoods milkweed, Redring and Whorled milkweed. (Milkweed4Monarchs.org)

Nectar sources that home gardeners can plant are phlox, lantana, lamb’s ear, sedum, coneflower, lavender, bee balm, yarrow, sage and zinnia.

Common milkweed (Asclepias Syriaca) will grow almost anywhere.

MVP has drafted ideas for supporting the effort to help the Monarch:

* Friendly neighborhood competition – The subdivision with the most butterfly gardens wins.

*Friendly competition among Madison businesses – The business with the best butterfly garden wins.

* Swap/giveaway – Residents who are interested in gardening will gather at Home Place Park for a community plant swap and plant giveaway.

To support these community events, email Melissa Davison, MVP Project Coordinator, at melissa@mvpmadison.org.

Madison Visionary Partners’ office address is 103 Spenryn Drive. For more information, call 256-384-4358 or visit mvpmadison.org.

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