The organization began work last spring to develop the meadow to attract monarch butterflies, bees and other insects important for the pollination of plants.

Monarch butterflies are more than just beautiful to watch, and the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust has a project underway in Onslow County to help attract them and other important pollinators to the area.

The Coastal Land Trust will use a portion of a $68,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to expand its pollinator meadow at the Everett Creek Preserve located near Dixon Elementary School.
The organization began work last spring to develop the meadow over about three acres of the preserve that is just a grassy area where an old private air strip used to be located. The goal is to create an environment to attract monarch butterflies, bees and other insects important for the pollination of plants.

“We planted some milkweed and other wildflowers in the spring. When we went back in August we noticed there were some caterpillars and said, ‘We’ve got to do more of this,’” said Coastal Land Trust Deputy Director Janice Allen.

The grant will help them do just that.

Allen said they plan to hold a volunteer planting day in May so anyone interested can join them in planting additional wildflowers out at the meadow.

In February, they are planning to put signage out at the site that will explain the lifecycle of the monarch butterfly.

Allen said wildflowers attract bees and butterflies but aren’t as plentiful as they used to be.

“Look across the landscape and you just don’t see that many areas of natural wildflowers,” she said.

The Everett Creek Preserve is about 240 acres along the water that remains in its natural state.

The preserve is currently open to the public by appointment only, but Allen said there are future plans to improve public access, including the addition of a small parking area and restrooms.

The Duke Energy Foundation grant will also help to pay for an AmeriCorps Service member to assist the Coastal Land Trust in developing an elementary school curriculum for schools in New Hanover County on Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants in association with the Pine Ridge Nature Center in Wilmington. There is also some money to help fund field trips by school groups to the nature center.