I am participating in Journey North ~ A Global Study of Wildlife Migration and Seasonal Change ~ and you can too! This is a wonderful and engaging experience for Pagan Home Schoolers. Participants share field observations throughout the northern hemisphere and explore interrelated aspects of seasonal changes. These range anywhere from reporting the first signs of spring to various species of wildlife appearing in our back yards. Journey North is a free, Internet-based program presented by Annenberg Learner, a division of the Annenberg Foundation.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed quite a decline in my own sightings of both Monarch butterflies (in my state, Michigan) and Milkweeds as well, so I was thrilled to find dozens of Milkweeds growing wild in the “waste areas” out behind the old, unused barn in my new(er) home location!
Milkweed has an interesting history and many potential uses. For example, did you know that during World War II, there was a shortage of materials typically used for making life jackets, so the “fluff” from the Milkweed seed pods was used in place of it? It was found to be 4 times more buoyant than “cork”! Also, the white, sticky “sap” from the Milkweed is used topically to remove warts, and contains a toxin that helps keep predators from attacking the caterpillar form of the Monarch butterfly. For more historic details and exploratory uses, visit The Old Farmer’s Almanac: “Not-so-Common Milkweed Facts and Uses”
For further study of the estimated 59% decline in Monarch butterflies over the course of the past year, we might consider the impact of Genetically-Modified Organic materials and Pesticides. Insect ecologist, Orley Taylor, gave an in-depth report in April of this year on the subject in an interview with Yale Environment 360.
GM Engineering is of great concern to many, including myself. If you would like to learn who supports the initiative to continue supplying NON-GM Foods and Resources, and where you can still purchase foods that are NOT Genetically-Engineered, you might visit the Non-GMO Project.
As an additional step in helping to insure that we will have the option of feeding our families with organic foods that are “non-GMO”, I would urge you to contact your legislators and keep informed through the news and “one-click petitions” made available at Just Label It.