Lake Como Celebrates Rebirth of Specially Designed Butterfly Garden

Lake Como Mayor Brian Wilton, center in blue shirt, leads children in tossing wildflower seeds into the butterfly garden as part of its grand opening celebration. Credits: Cathy Goetz
For the past three years, the Lake Como Environmental Commission has been working to bring the butterfly garden into its full glory, culminating its efforts with the grand opening on July 15. Credits: Special to TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como
Fifteen-month-old Kinsley D’Antuono, daughter of Lake Como Councilman Christopher D’Antuono and wife Brittany, is among a group of children at the grand opening of the borough’s butterfly garden. Credits: Cathy Goetz
Hollie Brockwell, 4, of Wall, daughter of Amanda Brockwell of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, spreads her butterfly wings during the grand opening of the Lake Como butterfly garden. Credits: Cathy Goetz
Aaron Diament of Manalapan, who along with mom Jenine Tankoos wrote the children’s book, “Let’s Go Green Together,” brought his butterfly habitat to the Lake Como butterfly garden's grand opening. Credits: Cathy Goetz

LAKE COMO, NJ — What if you threw a party and the guest of honor did not show up? For those attending the grand opening of Lake Como’s butterfly garden that may have been the case, but it did not bother them in the least.

Although no butterflies were spotted at the event, its attendees were more than content to get a first-hand look at a garden that is now flush with foliage to entice the elusive butterfly to the specially designed lakefront habitat.

Some 60 people gathered at Lake Como’s western banks for the grand opening celebration hosted by the borough’s environmental commission. The event marked the culmination of three years of work by its members and other volunteers to make the garden more butterfly friendly — an important endeavor to support the migration patterns of the Monarch butterfly, whose numbers have been declining in New Jersey during the past 20 years (see box below).

Sign Up for E-News

“This has been three years in the works,” said Karen Zielinski, the commission’s lakefront projects manager who spearheaded the restoration effort.

It involved taking out poison ivy and other invasive species of plants that had inundated the garden, excavating it and filling it with new soil and then planting it with hundreds of native butterfly-supporting plants, including 120 that were purchased this season through a grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC).

In order to support the Monarch butterfly’s lifecycle and migratory patterns, the garden includes pollen-rich plants that will bloom at three different times throughout the spring and summer. “We have to have constant blooms throughout the season to keep the butterflies comfortable and happy,” said Zielinski, who applauded the many volunteers involved in the restoration project.

Environmental Commission Chair Jon Gibbons thanked Arnold and Chris Clemenson of Clemenson Farms Native Nurseries in Estell Manor for giving the commission such a good price on purchasing the garden’s plants, it was able to buy some 40 more plants than originally planned.

Jenine Tankoos of Manalapan, a representative of ANJEC, commended the borough for its efforts to support the butterfly population, particularly ensuring that the one plant on which the entire Monarch butterfly survives on — the milkweed — continues to grow on the banks of Lake Como. “By just planting one milkweed plant makes a difference since it’s the only plant the Monarch butterfly eats and lays its eggs on,” said Tankoos, who along with her son, Aaron Diament, recently published “Let’s Go Green Together,” a guide for children on how they can make their world a cleaner and greener place.

As a way of officially opening the garden, children gathered around it to toss in wildflower seeds, donated by the Monmouth Conservation Foundation. It was their way of wishing the garden “good luck” in bringing butterflies to the banks of Lake Como.


State Publishes Guide to Grow Declining Monarch Butterfly Population
Monarch butterflies have had a long and storied presence in New Jersey, particularly for their extraordinary annual migratory flights every fall along the East Coast, through the state, on the way to Mexico for the winter. However, for the past 20 years, there has been a significant decline in the population of these important pollinators.

In response, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has published a Monarch Butterfly Conservation Guide to educate the public about this population decline and what can be done to expand the butterfly's presence in New Jersey.

“We know pollinators are extremely important to New Jersey's ecology and environment,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “Consequently, we wanted to put our best information out to the public through this very comprehensive guide so everyone — from students to farmers to businesses — understands why monarch butterflies are significant indicators of habitat health, and what everyone can do to help them thrive again.”

The guide provides an overview of the monarch butterfly's lifestyle and migration pattern, habitat needs, environmental and cultural significance, factors contributing to population decline, efforts made in research, conservation and public education, and recommendations on how to help the distinctive butterfly.

To view the New Jersey Monarch Butterfly Conservation Guide, visit

TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is Belmar and Lake Como’s only free daily newspaper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TAPintoBelmar.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Belmar/Lake Como

Sports Betting Is Off and Running in New Jersey

June 14, 2018

OCEANPORT, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy officially ushered in sports betting in New Jersey when he made the initial wager at Monmouth Park on June 14.

 Murphy, an avid soccer fan who has called ESPN’s “Sportscenter” his favorite show, placed the first bet  — $20 on Germany to win the World Cup. He also bet $20 on the N.J. Devils to win the Stanley ...

Could Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational Be on Justify's Agenda?

June 13, 2018

ELMONT, NY — Triple Crown winner Justify came out of his stall to meet the media bright and bouncing on the morning after his gate-to-wire win in the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes.

When asked to assess his colt's win, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert reported, “We were watching replays of the race. He could have gone around again.”

The brilliantly colored ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, June 19, 6:00 PM

Belmar Municipal Building, Belmar

Belmar Mayor and Council Meeting


Tue, June 19, 7:30 PM

Lake Como Borough Hall, Lake Como

Lake Como Council Meeting


Fri, June 22, 11:00 AM

Taylor Pavilion, Belmar

Belmar Woman's Club Book and Granny's Attic Sale


Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Calvary Baptist Church, Belmar

Calvary Baptist Church's Giant Jumble Sale

JCP&L Completes Inspections and Projects Before Summer to Enhance Customer Service Reliability

June 12, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ — Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has completed inspections and projects across its 13-county service area, including Monmouth County, to enhance customer reliability in preparation for the summer season.

The work included upgrading transmission and substation equipment, upgrading circuits and trimming trees along power lines.

Helicopter patrols are ...

Facebook Provides Verification Badges for All TAPinto Facebook Pages

TAPinto and its 75 partner sites have been verified on Facebook with the social media platform's blue badge, which is given to news organizations that meet Facebook's authenticity criteria. 

Facebook gives the blue verification badge to "eligible brands, media organizations and public figures," based on factors that include policy compliance and public ...

Belmar and Lake Como

June 2, 2018

Belmar Police Department reported the following arrests occurred in Belmar and Lake Como from April 1, 2018 to April 28, 2018.


Ryan Miles, 33, of Belmar was charged with contempt on an outstanding warrant after his arrest on April 1 on Route 35 by Police Officer Patrick McGill.

Lisa Perrault, 49, of Long Branch was arrested on 16th Avenue on April 6 by Police Officer Patrick ...