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Garden Club supports Monarch program
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The beautiful Butterfly Milkweed plant can make a pretty addition to home flower gardens and also serve as a much needed food supply for Monarch caterpillars.

Great Bend Garden Club members are enthused about a Monarch butterfly educational project being presented to the school kids of Barton County. Made possible by a grant from the National 4-H Council, it is sponsored locally by the Barton County 4-H Council and presented by volunteer 4-H Club members.
At the May Garden Club meeting, Barton County Extension Agent Bernie Unruh and 4-H volunteer Lexi Straub explained the games they play with the school kids and the audiovisuals they use to teach the life cycles and requirements for living on which the endangered Monarch butterflies rely.
Monarch butterflies have a fascinating but very hard life. They lay up to 400 eggs of which only 2-5 percent survive. Their annual migration is from Mexico to Canada and it takes four generations to make the journey. Their winter habitat in Mexico is declining and the milkweed plants that their caterpillars require for nourishment have quickly disappeared from the farms and cities along their migration routes. The Extension Services of the agricultural colleges in the effected states have been promoting the reintroduction of the necessary plants: nectar plants such as purple coneflowers for the butterflies and milkweed varieties for the caterpillars.
The 4-H grant included funds for a drone and photos have been taken of the land areas in Barton County and possible places for the planting of the milkweed plants are being identified. It is hoped that the school kids, and their parents along with other adults will think about including some of the nectar plants and the ornamental milkweeds such as the butterfly milkweed in their home flower beds and city park areas.
During their business meeting the Garden Club, led by president Nancy Williams, elected officers for the coming year: Nancy Williams, president; Jeannine Girton, vice president; Carol Woodmansee, secretary; Pam Sweeney, treasurer; and Teresa Bachand, historian.
Alice Young reported that she had purchased six new rose bushes for the Great Bend Cemetery Rose Garden. The cemetery personnel have repositioned the waterlines and mulched the garden and will be watering the roses this summer. Tami Wagner will be maintaining the rose garden area throughout the summer. Delores Grose reported seven new names for the garden’s memorial plaques.
The next meeting of the Great Bend Garden Club will be at 10 a.m. on Sept. 21 in the Barton County Extension meeting room. Teresa Bachand will be the hostess. There is an open invitation to anyone interested in joining Garden Club.