The Bondsville Mill Park gardens are a certified Monarch Waystation. Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for Monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. The Mill gardens with its large milkweed bed and nectar plants are the perfect place for Monarchs to lay their eggs and for the newly hatched caterpillars to find food. Without milkweeds throughout their summer breeding, Monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall. Similarly, without nectar from flowers these fall migratory Monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico.
In addition to providing much needed plantings for Monarch butterflies, the Mill gardens, through programs and displays, involves the community in the importance of protecting and educating park visitors on why Monarch Butterflies and Pollinators are so important to our ecosystem. Park visitors get a hands-on opportunity to learn how they can be involved in citizen science and conservation as Monarch butterflies are tagged and released. From late August into early October 2020, over 400 Monarchs were released at the Mill and 200 of them were tagged. Most releases were done by children.
In the early planning stages for the park, native plantings were to be a very important part of the landscape and the committee wanted to have a garden that would attract butterflies. In 2017, while clearing an area for the park’s sign, Milkweed was spotted popping up and that determined the location for our butterfly garden. Much clearing had to be done before the gardens could be fully planted. Wild grape, bittersweet, and poison ivy were among the invasive plants that had to be removed. The gardens are now filled with milkweed and other native plants that attract many kinds of butterflies, moths, and other pollinators.