Milkweed Bugs of October Meadows

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

October is the season of the Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus), a colorful but lesser known bug of Oakland County’s milkweed-rich meadows, fields and trailsides. They are spectacularly beautiful creatures that lure the attention of nature hungry little kids, nature savvy adults and university entomologists. However unless one walks slowly amidst the milkweed plants, and looks for them, they often go unnoticed, even with their brilliant colors. Don’t let them go unnoticed. Continue reading

Lost Lake Nature Preserve: One Preserve, Two Counties, An Autumn Hike

 WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

img_6050

“To those devoid of imagination, a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” Aldo Leopold.

Leopold is widely acknowledged as the father of wildlife conservation in America. Those words from his timeless classic, A Sand County Almanac, were first published in 1949, one year after Leopold died while fighting a fast moving grass fire on his neighbor’s property.

Continue reading

Monarch Migration and Milkweed: From Michigan to Mexico

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

img_4640

The monarch butterfly‘s migration is perhaps the most magnificent migration of any species. Most monarchs that are now emerging from their chrysalises in Oakland County will attempt to fly all the way to the mountains of central Mexico. Monarchs know no borders, and Mexico is their overwintering destination. Some will be successful in that hazardous journey now underway, however many of these delicate beauties will die en route. To keep the journey alive in Oakland County, it is paramount that milkweed plants continue to grow here, because without them there would be no monarchs.

monarch-signEducation plays a big role. Enhancing monarch habitat by planting milkweed is akin to creating birthing rooms and feeding stations in one easy action. A colorful new interpretive sign created for Oakland County Parks shares the message of the great migration, the magic of metamorphosis and the need to plant and protect milkweed. Milkweed is only a weed to many humans, but for the monarch it is life, for it is the sole food source for the colorful larvae of the monarch. That’s where this tale begins, here in Oakland County where many park agencies and residents strive to create monarch way stations, landscapes that support milkweed.

Continue reading