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Shepherdstown’s Monarch Waystation seeks letters of support from local residents

By Staff | Jan 17, 2020

A volunteer finishes planting in the Monarch Waystation in James Rumsey Monument Park in Nov. 2019. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — “Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies,” wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupry in The Little Prince. While the beauty of caterpillars is certainly less captivating than what it will be when they turn into butterflies, caterpillars’ ability to access nourishing food is essential to their growth process.

Last spring, the Corporation of Shepherdstown decided to address this need, when the Parks and Recreation Committee and the Tree Commission began brainstorming together on the logistics of building a Monarch Waystation in town.

“We created a Monarch Waystation and planted it in November,” said Tree Commission Chair Lori Robertson on Tuesday. “It’s to help with the survival of the monarch butterflies. It will help the butterflies have food at all levels of development.”

While the Tree Commission first thought of the idea, the Parks and Recreation Committee worked with the the commission from the beginning, as the groups decided on the location for the waystation and the details of which flowers to plant, based on their abilities to nourish both caterpillars and butterflies.

“All of us thought that this would be a good idea,” Robertson said, mentioning the Monarch Waystation was placed on the right side of the foot of the stairs leading up to the James Rumsey monument in James Rumsey Monument Park.

Community volunteers dig up holes and place plants into them to make Shepherdstown's first Monarch Waystation by the James Rumsey Monument in Nov. 2019. Courtesy photo

According to Robertson, the waystation will be at its peak in June and July.

“It gives beautification to the park and an attraction for visitors, besides the monument,” said Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Cheryl Roberts. “The location where the waystation was placed was a vacant space, and now it will be a place of beauty. Many people think of only Rumsey Monument there, but now there will be an additional thing they can enjoy at the monument.”

According to Roberts, the funds for the mulch and plants used in the project were taken out of the committee’s budget, since the Monarch Waystation was placed in one of the town’s parks. However, the town hopes to recoup some of those funds, by applying for a grant from The Monarch Alliance. Money from the grant would compensate the town for the cost of the waystation, and could also be used to add more plants to the waystation.

Letters of support for the waystation are needed from the community, to be included with the grant application, according to Robertson. Letters can simply state the community member’s support, or could also include the community member’s reasons for supporting the addition of the waystation to the town. Letters must be emailed to clerk@shepherdstown.us by Jan. 24.