PLAINVILLE - Roberta Lauria, vice chairman of the Conservation Commission, is ordering packets of milkweed and wildflower seeds, trying to encourage residents to create a habitat for monarch butterflies and honeybees.
Lauria, who calls her initiative PEEP (Plainville Enhancing its Environment for Pollinators), said that, with the help of people at the local senior center, she will be putting together 150 seed packets which will be available for pickup in May at the Senior Center, Parks and Recreation Department and Town Clerk’s Office.
Each packet will come with instructions for how to plant the seeds.
The project is being paid for with the Conservation Commission budget.
Lauria said that honeybee and monarch butterfly populations have been reduced by as much as 90 to 95 percent in the past 10 years.
She said that the factors contributing to this include pesticides and loss of meadow habitat with the wildflowers needed by the honeybees and the milkweed needed by the monarch butterflies.
“It was an idea that occurred to me while I was driving to work and I brought it before the Conservation Commission last October,” said Lauria. “My son is 15 years old and he has only ever seen a monarch butterfly in a display case at Sessions Woods in Burlington.
“This is despite the fact that he was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout and we visit a lot of parks. I remember growing up in Plainville and it wasn’t unusual to see a monarch in the spring time.”
“I remember people saying ‘oh look, the monarchs are back,’” she continued. “My son has never experienced that. I’ve since been contacting vendors and trying to figure out how to actually do this.”
Lauria said that several residents she has spoken with, including town councilors, have been supportive of her plan.
“I’ve had many people come to me and say that they are very interested in wanting to plant some seeds at their location,” she said. “I have advised people to plant where they feel that the plants will not be eaten by pets or small children. The packets will contain enough seeds to have the plants grow in a 50-square-foot space or they can be spread out for planters.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.