Home & Garden

West Orange Environmental Commission Monarch Butterfly/Milkweed Project Launches


WEST ORANGE, NJ – This year, on Arbor Day, which was celebrated at St. Cloud Elementary School, Susan McCartney, councilwoman and president of the Chamber of Commerce, announced that the West Orange Environmental Commission (W.O.E.C.) was going to be embarking on a National Wildlife Federation Campaign to help reinvigorate the Monarch Butterfly populations.

“I just recruited the whole St. Cloud school to help me with a National Wildlife Federation Campaign to plant milkweed to reinvigorate the Monarch Butterfly population," McCartney said. "I plan to do it at every school, but will kick it off at St. Cloud.”

At the time, McCartney said that this campaign would begin soon--and she was right. But first she said they needed to obtain the milkweed seeds, which were in high demand because the project was a national campaign. She explained that many people were collecting the seeds, which were in shortage.

Sign Up for E-News

According to McCartney, the Monarch population has decreased tremendously because of the use of pesticides that have been killing off all the milkweed and plants that butterflies eat. She said that Monarchs, in particular, need milkweed.

“So, we have to find the seeds first,” said Susan.

This week, the W.O.E.C. announced the initiation of a free town-wide Milkweed Program to save the endangered Monarch butterfly. This West Orange program is being run in conjunction with the NWF-National Wildlife Federation, and the New Jersey Audubon Society, plus many other conservation groups in North America to help the species.

“Imagine an insect weighing less than a paper clip, migrating in the fall  from northern areas of the USA and Canada, about 2,500 miles to high in the  Sierra Madre mountains  in Michochan, Mexico,” said West Orange resident Mike Brick, who is chairman of the West Orange Environmental Commission.

They overwinter there in the trees, then lay eggs in the spring and die,” he said. “Then three generations of butterflies migrate north going through their life cycles. The great grandchildren of the Mexican Monarchs, called the Methuselah Generation, then migrate the 2,500 miles back to their ancestral breeding grounds to finish the life cycle. This generation lives nine months, while the between generations live about three weeks.”

He added, “The beautiful orange mottled Monarch is the only species to have this unique life cycle. Its truly nature’s miracle. But, the species is 90 percent depleted by agricultural pesticides that have killed their only host plant, the Milkweed, where they lay their eggs and the hatched caterpillars eat these leaves, grow large, and form their chrysalis to then become a Monarch butterfly.”

All across the U.S. and Canada, people are joining forces to save this Monarch species by planting milkweed in their home gardens and beds, according to Brick, who shared the following websites for those interested in learning more: National Wildlife Federation Butterfly Heroes, Center for Biological Diversity and National Aquarium.

The W.O.E.C. has partnered with the Knowles family, which own the Pleasantdale Chateau and their head grounds keeper, Michael Conti, to harvest the facility’s surplus of local Swamp Milkweed plants into transfer pots for West Orange residents to plant at home.

“We thank the Pleasantdale Chateau for their contribution to this program,” said Brick.

While there is tropical milkweed available for purchase from local nurseries, this native swamp species is perennial, spreads, has orange/yellow flowers in summer and green seed pods in fall that pop open with silken seeds to wind travel to new destinations. The life cycle of this native species coincides with the life cycle of the Monarch northern migration. The tropical species does not, so this is the preferred species to support the Monarch migration, according to Brick.

Those interested in participating are invited to pick up the free Milkweed (one pot per West Orange family) during business hours at the locations listed below; however there is one caveat—participants are asked to sign the group’s Conservation Pledge to “REDUCE< REUSE & RECYCLE.”

“This gives us your name and email to add to our data base to connect with you all,” said Brick.

  • FIRST MOUNTAIN PRESCHOOL: 270 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, 973-243-6768 (Councilwoman and President of the Chamber of Commerce Susan McCartney-Director)
  • PRELINX Print Company: 122 Main Street, West Orange, 201-881-8000 (President Neil Sanghavi; and Executive Director Enrique Blanco) Office Hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
  • BRICKPACK: 19 Colony Drive, West Orange, 973-943-6693 (Chairman of the West Orange Environmental Commission Michael Brick) Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday - Thursday

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Free Flavors Soft Serve Ice Cream (Jr. Cup or Cone) With Coupon

May 23, 2018

Fairfield, NJ - Flavors Homemade Ice Cream is offering a FREE soft serve ice cream (jr. cup or cone) when you spend $10 or more with coupon.

Flavors Homemade Is located at 653 Rt 46 West (1.98 mi) in Fairfield, New Jersey 07004 next to Jose Tejas.

*Homemade Ice Cream

*Italian Ice


*Fresh waffles 

*ice ...

Evolve Cycle And Fitness Presale Happening Now!

CALDWELL, NJ - Evolve Cycle and Fitness is now offering 10 classes for only $90. That’s only $9 a class when you purchase before its official Grand Opening on Friday, June 1, 2018. 

Only two weeks left to take advantage of this limited time offer! Call Martha at 973-979-5919 or click here to sign up.

Evolve Cycle and Fitness is a Premier Fitness Boutique ...

Montclair HS Student Reported Sexual Assault in All-Gender Bathroom, Officials Say

May 17, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - According to published reports on Wednesday, Montclair Police officials are investigating allegations of sexual assault reported to have occurred in a bathroom at Montclair High School.

Montclair police officials state that officers received a report about an incident at the high school of a sexual nature that occurred around 3:18 p.m. on Monday. The ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, May 28, 10:00 AM

Township Hall, West Orange

2018 Memorial Day Observance

Community Calendar


Mon, May 28, 8:00 PM

West Orange High School, West Orange

Board of Education Meeting

Community Calendar Education


Tue, May 29

Essex County

Primary – Vote by Mail deadline

Clarifying Points Made in Article About WOHS Air Quality Issues

May 14, 2018

Dear Editor, 

I am the advisor to West Orange High School's student newspaper, The Pioneer. My Editor-in-Chief, Anna Favetta, is the student who researched the topic and wrote the article bringing this issue to light. She worked on the article for 4 months before she had adequate and proper information for it to go to print. 

An article on the BOE presentation of the ...

What It Means to Me - A Baseball Story

We are all in amazement of the dedication and talent of our young West Orange athletes. One of the goals of our youth sports programs is to develop our players so they are ready for high school and are prepared for success at that next level of play. Throughout the course of the year we will be featuring some of our talented young athletes and coaches. This week we have the perspective of ...

West Orange On Three!

The spring season is in full swing, and we are excited to debut this new column focusing on all things youth sports!  We thought we would kick things off with an overview of the programs West Orange has to offer, and then go behind the scenes to see what makes youth sports tick.

West Orange Police Athletic League (PAL) and Mountain Top League (MTL), together with the West Orange ...

Summer 2018 Events at the West Orange Public Library

May 15, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Beginning in June, the West Orange Public Library will offer the following events for area residents of all ages:

Dinosaurs’ Rock!                                             

Monday, June 11, 4:00 p.m.

Field Station Dinosaur visits with the ...

10-Year-Old Cancer Patient Receives Donation from Randolph Hockey Family

May 21, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ — While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real-life battles off the ice, there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the members of the Randolph varsity hockey team, when they came together to ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...