During the Pacific battles of WWII, military occupation of Java eliminated the Allies’ source of kapok, the material that filled life jackets used by soldiers in the war.1 Kapok is a cotton-like, fibrous substance surrounding the seeds of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra). Without this critical material to fill life jackets, the United States turned to an abundant native plant with seed carried on the wind by fuzzy, lightweight floss: milkweed (Asclepias spp.). Citizens were asked to collect milkweed pods… Continue reading
Tag Archives: Monarch Butterflies
While the U.S. channels millions of dollars into research, citizen science outreach, and public education on the importance of the Monarch butterfly migration, Mexico is considering the approval of permits that would allow its largest mining company with the country’s worst environmental record to reopen a copper mine in the heart of the Monarchs’ ancestral roosting sites.
The White House has for six years planted a garden on the South Lawn, first planted in 2009 to promote a nationwide conversation about healthy eating. This year marks the inauguration of an addition to the garden that we hope will spur a conversation about bees, butterflies, and other vital yet imperiled species: a pollinator garden. The White House has kept bees for several years but this is the first year that they have included plants designed to attract native… Continue reading