Butterfly

A volunteer committee proceeding with creating a butterfly garden has planted 25 native plants to attract Monarchs on their migratory flight.

Committee chair Nancy Stahl said a previous butterfly garden in Fountain Park has been cleared.

Joe Geare, known locally as “Butterfly Joe,” along with Joe Beauvais, town grounds keeper, planted, seeded and watered desert milkweed and cactus over the summer.

Geare cultivated an extensive butterfly garden at his home. He offers his advice and experience to interested individuals if they call him at 480-686-1128 or email fyrefly1@gmail.com.

The committee earned 501(c)3 status, allowing it to raise funds and secure grants.

A $1,800 tree planting grant from Change X and $4,000 from urban forest funds paid for the plantings.

“Unfortunately, some of these efforts went badly wrong due to the heat, salt water mix and other unexpected natural ilks,” said Stahl.

The two men will help backyard gardeners and other local or private groups in planting desert milkweed, she said.

Monarch butterflies are disappearing at an alarming rate, said Stahl. Overdevelopment of housing, businesses and climate changes has ruined their food source, mainly milkweed. Planting milkweed plants may prevent the eventual total extinction, she said.

The committee is affiliated with national pollinator groups, Arizona State University, The L. Alan Cruikshank River of Time Museum, Mexico seed exchange program and The Urban Forest group.