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See the Project
California’s monarch butterflies are vanishing; there has been over a 99% decrease in Monarch Butterfly population in California since the 1980s. Moraga is part of the Monarchs’ critical coastal range; Rancho Laguna Park is eight miles from an established Monarch overwintering site at Lake Merritt. Citizens of Moraga can support a chance for recovery by providing much needed nectar and larvae host habitat for the few surviving Monarchs migrating back from overwintering sites this spring and beyond. Conservation work done now can still make a difference. Any work done will also help other native pollinators experiencing critical declines. In the process of helping Monarchs, we will enhance town beauty and fellowship.
“MORAGA FOR MONARCHS” MISSION
Moraga Garden Club has established the “Moraga for Monarchs” Project. Our goal is to help repopulate monarchs throughout town. We are collaborating have collaborated with local entities (St. Mary’s College, the Town of Moraga, Moraga Garden Center, service organizations, and wildlife experts) to deliver cohesive, sustainable support. Our goal is three-fold:
● Educate our citizens to encourage appropriate Monarch assistance
● Establish attractive public Monarch habitats
● Provide plants to support fire-safe, Monarch-friendly private landscaping The ultimate vision is to have hillsides infused with beautiful monarch nectar-rich, native wildflowers and milkweed. Within town, we envision attractive, well-groomed Monarch-supportive gardens. In private yards, we encourage patches of Monarch-specific plants. Working in harmony, private neighborhoods with even small yards can create inviting corridors for butterflies
THE RANCHO LAGUNA PARK:
The Monarch Habitat and Demonstration Garden
Rancho Laguna Park is located at the west end of Camino Pablo, 2101 Camino Pablo, Moraga. In February 2021, despite the pandemic, MGC began implementing their Moraga for Monarchs conservation effort. In collaboration with the town of Moraga, the Club has built a 2,600 square foot Monarch Habitat and Demonstration Garden in Rancho Laguna Park, a highly utilized public park in Moraga; the Garden was started in January 2021, planted in May of 2021, and finished in December 2021… with largely donated supplies and almost 100% volunteer labor by both MGC members and the Moraga community, including 5 local service groups and 4 local scout groups and multiple local businesses and individuals. In July 2021 the Garden was Certified by thre national Monarch conservation organization, Monarch Watch, as a Certified Monarch Waystation.
The plants in the monarch garden are all deer-resistant, fire-safe, and the majority are native , perennial, and drought tolerant; the garden features native milkweed and pollinator nectar plants , most of which were grown by MGC. The Garden was officially gifted to the Town of Moraga June 5, 2022 during which free food, music, a parade games and crafts were provided to the community. Ongoing maintenance of the Garden is by MGC members.
The Garden features a majestic six-foot metal monarch wings sculpture suitable for selfies, a solar-powered fountain for pollinators to “wet their whistle”, mosaic ladybugs and monarch caterpillar, 8 benches to sit and view the garden, and interpretive signage about the plants and pollinators.
The garden and art installations have drawn many new families to the site where both adults and children learn about the plight of monarchs and other pollinators and what they can do to help. The project has not only raised community awareness of the plight of pollinators in general and monarchs specifically, but it has also been a community-building opportunity to bring the community of 17,000 diverse Moragans together for a positive experience. Utilization of the park, including its children’s playground, has increased since installation of the Garden, increasing it as a popular family destination.
Throughout 2021 and 2022 MGC members have done many presentations about monarch and other pollinator conservation to schools, scout groups, garden clubs, Family Harvest Farm and church groups as well as at local fairs in both Lafayette and Moraga. During these events milkweed and pollinator nectar plant seeds have been distributed. Over 200 milkweed plants, rhizomes and pollinator plants have been distributed to local schools, Family Harvest Farm, and Master Gardeners of Contra Costa. 20 docent tours of the garden have been provided.
A citizen science projec. sponsored by Monarch Joint Venture, monitoring Monarch larvae is being carried out by a Garden Club member.
Monarch Joint Venture, one of the leading pollinator conservation groups has recognized and formed a partnership with the Moraga for Monarchs project:
The Garden Club maintains active participation in both local and national conservation groups, including the Xerces Society, the Pollinator Posse, Monarch Watch, Pollinator Partnership, the East Bay Monarch Working Group and California Association of Resource Conservation Districts. At the encouragement of MGC and with the assistance of the Garden Club, the Moraga Mayor signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors Monarch Pledge, committing the Town of Moraga “to create habitat for the monarch butterfly and pollinators, and to educate residents about how they can make a difference at home and in their community”. On March 9, 2022 the Moraga Town Council issued a proclamation honoring “the Moraga Garden Club for their vision and dedication to creating the Moraga for Monarchs pollinator Habitat and Demonstration garden at Rancho Laguna Park”.
HOW TO HELP TODAY:
PLANT MILKWEED AND NATIVE WILDFLOWERS AND NECTAR PLANTS: Free seeds are available at the Moraga Library
FINANCIAL DONATIONS are needed for Garden upkeep and are appreciated! Please, make checks payable to: Moraga Garden Club, include “Monarchs” in the note section and mail to P.O. Box 6062 Moraga, CA 94570-6062
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO VOLUNTEER: EMAIL MoragaforMonarchs@gmail.com
For more information about the Monarch Garden project and how-to sheets, click on the photos below.
Building your own habitat
The plants at Rancho Laguna
Email for more Information or to Volunteer:
Mailing address: P.O. Box 6062, Moraga, CA 94570-6062
Moraga Garden Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible.
Our federal tax identification number is 86-1162099.
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