PLAINVILLE - Roberta Lauria, vice chair of the Conservation Committee, said that her initiative to create more butterfly habitats in town, project P.E.E.P (Plainville Enhancing its Environment for Pollinators) was a success this year and will return next spring.
In May, the Conservation Commission put together more than 150 milkweed and wildflower seed packets, which were available for pickup at the senior center, the Parks and Recreation Department, the town clerk’s office and the library.
“By June, people had taken more than 112 packets, including both residents and people from surrounding towns,” said Lauria. “We wanted to make it available for anybody, regardless of whether or not they had a house with a yard or lived in a condo.
“People flooded in to get them,” she continued. “Some put them into potted planters. Lots of people planted in their yards; I planted in my yard. We had some leftovers that we will save for next year, but it is too late to plant this year. We hope that next year we can get more of the community and maybe some businesses involved.”
The packets came with instructions on how to plant the seeds, with the hope that people could start to create new habitats for honeybees and monarch butterflies, whose populations have decreased 90 to 95 percent in the past 10 years. Lauria has said that the causes of this de-population include loss of meadows and pesticide use.
“The milkweeds will take some time; we won’t see a lot of them until next year,” said Lauria. “I planted quite a few wildflowers and last weekend when my son and I were out doing yard work we did notice a butterfly.”
Lauria said that she has spoken with several people from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection who were “very excited” about project P.E.E.P.
“Councilor Rosemary Morante was also very excited about it,” she said. “During our last meeting in July she shared what she had planted with Dr. Bill Petit and I and she came to our last Conservation Commission meeting to ask about what her next step should be for taking care of them.”
Lauria initially brought the idea to the Conservation Commission last October. She said that she noticed the fact that her son had only ever seen a monarch butterfly in a display case, despite being a cub scout and a boy scout and visiting parks.
“I remember growing up in Plainville and it wasn’t unusual to see a monarch in the spring time,” she said. “I remember people saying ‘oh look, the monarchs are back.’ My son had never experienced that.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.