Students from Oak Park’s Oak Hill Elementary School spent their Sunday morning re-establishing a Monarch Butterfly Waystation at the Agoura Hills Animal Shelter. The original one was created last fall by a local Girl Scout troop, according to Helen Hartel, a coordinator of the program and Pet Spotlight columnist. “They put in all the original plants, the water feature and had the garden certified as a Monarch Waystation,” she said. “Unfortunately, the old habitat isn’t supporting the Monarchs anymore … the open field [behind the habitat] has been cut back due to weed abatement and fire retarding which has made it impossible for the butterflies to survive here.” In addition, a hard frost caused all of the milkweed, an essential plant for the Monarch diet, to die out, she said.
As part of a mandatory 10-hour community service project, the fifth grade students came out to replant the garden. “We are planting lavender, lantana and milkweed, spreading the garden with mulch and watering,” said Christine Kuzmick, parent supervisor. “It’s a wonderful project.”
In addition to the Monarchs, the garden is also attracting hummingbirds, Hartel said. “We’re already beginning to see caterpillars on the milkweed,” she said.