Saturday, November 5, 2016

I stand with her

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead

Yes, of course, I stand with her, and you will find me on Tuesday morning proudly casting my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But what I want to tell you about is how I stand with another her, who in this case, refers to Pat, a new friend that I met through the Shelby County extension service. Pat has a huge passion for native plants, especially those that are butterfly (and caterpillar) friendly. She says that during the summer she wakes and rushes out to her garden to see if there are any swallowtail caterpillars on her spice bush. It's what gets her out of bed and going. I understand.

Pat is a master gardener and is certified by the Kentucky Native Plant Society. Her yard is a showcase of incredible gardens, mostly comprised of native plants.

Milkweed seeds, critical to the survival of Monarchs.

Pat is known throughout the Shelby County community for her work in the schools educating children on the need to establish way station gardens for Monarch butterflies. She often dons adult-sized Monarch wings as she goes about educating and recruiting enthusiasts. She can be found visiting schools, bringing along with her mesh cages containing caterpillars, chrysalises and hatched butterflies.  She is known for her enthusiasm to work with teachers and students to plant native gardens and she has helped get native gardens established at many Shelby Counties parks.

A single common milkweed seed. It floats on wind and water. 

My favorite story is one she tells of collecting milkweed seeds and then releasing them out the car window as her husband drove down I-64. She says it looked like smoke coming out of her car and she is sure that other drivers thought her car was on fire. But no, it was only Pat, on fire with her desire to spread the one plant that Monarchs need to survive. (They lay their eggs exclusively on the milkweed plant and their caterpillars only eat milkweed leaves.)

I've been collecting milkweed seeds. I have a plan...

So in Pat's honor, and as a way of saying that I stand with her, I too have been collecting milkweed seeds and plan on driving down Dover Road to release them to the wind. There are plenty of milkweed plants on Farm Dover, but I am hoping that my release of milkweed seeds will help establish a corridor of Monarch-friendly habitat.

So Pat, I appreciate all you do to change the world – and I stand with you.

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