During early July 2015, the Green Team at INOVA Loudoun Hospital in Virginia and Nursing student Jake, worked together to establish the first Monarch Waystation on an INOVA property.
A waystation is the term for big or small plots of land that are set aside to provide food and shelter for the rapidly dwindling population of Monarch butterflies. Monarchs are important pollinators for crops and flowering plants, as well as an important "canary in the mine" for the effects of pesticide and habitat destruction on wildlife populations.
Jake describes his involvement in the project, "I think it's a natural fit for healthcare to care about the environment. We see the effects of environment on our patients all the time. I want to be the kind of nurse that takes the lead in environmental change for healthier patients."
The Green Team partnered with a local environment group called Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy who is spearheading efforts with their campaign, "Bringing Back the Monarch."
Jake and the team prepared the ground, adding topsoil and an 8"x8' frame made of recycled material to create the garden base. Weed block in two large sheets covered with mulch was laid. All employees were then invited to attend the planting of organic, Virginia-native plants that support Monarch migration: Several types of Milkweed (most important), and fall nectaring plants such as asters and Virginia sunflowers. The garden was certified a Monarch Waystation by the watchgroup, Monarch Watch. A map of waystations in your area can be found on their website.