LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – Lake Junaluska has been named an official Monarch Waystation for migrating butterflies.
Monarchs make the over 2,000 mile journey from Canada to Mexico every fall, and that journey takes them through Western North Carolina in September and October. According to its website, the Monarch Waystation program strives to “create, conserve and protect monarch habitats” due to habitat loss along their migratory path.
“Monarch butterflies are important. Having butterflies is a signal that you have a healthy environment, safe for kids, because butterflies don’t like pesticides,” said Roddy Ray, grounds and landscape manager at Lake Junaluska.
Lake Junaluska achieved Monarch Waystation status last year due to its unique variety of flora, rich in resources like milkweed and nectar, which provide food and shelter for butterflies. At Lake Junaluska, nectar-providing flowers include sun flowers, hibiscus, sweet William, black-eyed susans, goldenrod and many more.
“There are so many native flowers that bloom at different times and attract different butterflies, but to be a Monarch Waystation we have to plant milkweed every year,” said Ray. “You have to make sure you have the right food.”
As the migration happens, ideal places to view monarch butterflies at Lake Junaluska include the Wildflower Walk along the Memorial Chapel parking lot and the Butterfly Garden, which is located near the entrance of the Francis Asbury Trail.
The Butterfly Garden was the brainchild of the Tuscola Garden Club. Though the garden has existed for over 20 years, it became part of the Monarch Waystation in 2016.
Ray said that becoming part of the Monarch Waystation program and helping to create safe havens for a species whose natural habitat is disappearing is an important responsibility.
“We’ve got to be good stewards of our land. If we’re not taking care of it and educating our kids, then we’re not doing our job,” Ray said.
Everyone is welcome to see the Butterfly Garden at Lake Junaluska. Lake Junaluska's 16 gardens and 2.3-mile walking trail are open to the public.
The Tuscola Garden Club continues to support the Butterfly Garden through donations. This winter the club plans to improve the stream that runs through the garden and fix the steps for better access to the garden. To contribute to the Butterfly Garden, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/support to donate.
For more information about Lake Junaluska’s gardens, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/gardens.
Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska programs and events, visit www.lakejunaluska.com.