SHERP - Page 17

Meadow Habitat

The Falk School meadow habitat began as an initiative proposed during a Humanities Immersion class. After learning that the global monarch population was suffering great declines due to loss of habitat and pesticides, the group especially wanted to establish milkweed plants within the meadow. However, place-based learning taught us that environmental issues specific to Southwestern Pennsylvania would introduce new challenges.

The meadow site is located on the slopes disturbed by recent construction. As a result, erosion and invasive plants have made any sort of large-scale removal and installation difficult. In addition, ground hogs and bunnies inhabiting our site love to eat the milkweed plants which the Monarch Catepillar feeds on.

Despite these challenges, patches of late blooming boneset, Joe- pye weed, ironweed, goats beard, jewelweed, asters, bee balm, and more are slowly establishing.

To learn more about the plight of our beloved monarch, read Battle for Butterflies. You are also invited to raise milkweed plants at home --- start your own patch and send us a few to plant too. For free seeds, just send an email to Ms. Wertz at lwertz@pitt.edu requesting milkweed seeds to be sent home.