Monarch Watch began on the West Campus at the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1992. In 2004, they started the Monarch Waystation Program to create gardens that provides food and habitat for the Monarch butterfly population. The international program now numbers 44,000 registered waystations with Monarch Waystation #1 sitting just outside the Monarch Watch offices. The waystations are good for various pollinators and provide locations where monarch can rest and feed during their annual migration.
There are several small gardens and plantings near the building including a container pollinator garden, but back to the left are larger garden areas and the pollinator garden that is Waystation #1. Although the space is surrounded by college buildings, it is large enough to take you away from all that and is quite peaceful. We saw no monarch butterflies in the garden, but we saw a variety of other butterfly species as well as may other pollinators.
The parking lot is subject to KU parking regulation, but there are three spots reserved for Monarch Watch guests and there are instructions on the sign for how to pay by telephone.
The Monarch Watch offices do not stay open for a regular schedule, but are typically open from 10AM - 3PM on week days. It is worth trying the door whenever you are there.
On the July Saturday we visited the gardens, we tried the Monarch Watch door and found that it was unlocked. There were a couple of people working. One of them checked if we needed anything and also alerted us to the active bee colony in one of the rooms where the lights were currently turned off. In addition to displays and many beautiful photos of butterflies, we found two rooms with multiple cages of monarchs and also found a woman who was removing tiny monarch larvae from milkweed plants and transferring them to small containers of media. The shelves of the room were lined with more containers with larva and cocoons in various stages of development.
You can order one of their monarch raising kits, a monarch tagging kit or milkweed for your own waystation at Shop.MonarchWatch.Org.
copyright 2023 by Keith Stokes