The Butterflies are Free !


Getting in Touch with Nature


Fifty genuine Monarch butterflies, purchased for Lamar Welcome Center volunteers and Chamber of Commerce Directors from a Florida grow-farm, went into semi-hibernation earlier this week and were revived from the warmth of numerous Colorado hands this past Wednesday, May 1st in Lamar, Colorado, now recognized as the only Monarch City USA in the state.  They were then released into the warm spring air from the downtown Lamar Pocket Park following remarks and a reading of the official proclamation to the gathering of about 100 citizens from Lamar Administrator John Sutherland, Lamar Mayor Roger Stagner and Char Herrera from the local Home Store.  The observance was held at 2pm which enjoyed some May sunshine following a damp and chilly morning in Prowers County.

City Administrator John Sutherland

Mayor Stagner noted that Lamar is the only city in Colorado designated a Monarch Butterfly City in his address which included a proclamation to that effect. He also explained how millions of Monarchs are now unaccounted for in America, due mostly to environmental impacts to their natural habitats…North America in the summer and Mexico in the winter.

Lamar Mayor Roger Stagner

Sutherland began the event likening the fragility of the Monarch to the resurgence of economic growth efforts for Lamar and the downtown community. Sutherland noted the Pocket Park represents, “a symbol of what the city is trying to do to inspire change and revitalization in the community,” he stated.  He said the Monarch also serves as a symbol of what the city is trying to do.  “If you understand how they start out migrating during their lives; this durable, frail creature does a journey which makes it appropriate as symbolic of Lamar because of our efforts to preserve and willingness to start that new life in a fresh direction for our downtown.  We see that change is possible and what we can do when we commit our energies to development.”

Crowds Letting Go of Their Butterfly in Pocket Park

Char Herrera explained that the Monarch is a pollinator that likes food in the form of nectar that comes from the prettiest flowers. They are great for a house as the plants add beauty for spring, summer and fall.  Residents can plant either perennials or annuals which will furnish food all season long, adding that flat rocks placed in a garden with a water source will attract Monarchs during the warmer months of the year.  She provided a basket of seeds which the attendees could select for their own planting later this spring.

Stagner noted that his wife Leslie and Connie Sutherland approached the City Council with the idea of applying to become a Monarch City via proclamation which was approved by the council during an April meeting. May will be Monarch month each year in Lamar and May 1st will be designated Monarch Day.

Starting a New Life

The gathering included members of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce and Lamar Welcome Center, council and city representatives and a host of young students who were bussed in for the event. Once out of their envelopes, the butterflies seemed a bit reluctant to venture into the skies, deciding to remain on a host of fingers, young and old and some surrounding plants in the park before they took to the skies to find a new home for the spring and summer months in Lamar.

By Russ Baldwin

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