If you see a monarch butterfly around town — at the Community Garden next to Long Lots Elementary School, Wakeman Town Farm or anyplace else — you’ll marvel at its beauty and grace.
You should also thank Alice Ely.
The Westporter is a garden coach. She gardens “with you, not for you,” her website says. “Whether you are just beginning, want to take your skills to the next level, branch out or troubleshoot, I’m happy to help.”
She is a master gardener and a compost maven. But she holds a special place in her heart for monarchs.
Alice’s inspiration, design and transplanting skills helped create the butterfly garden at the Community Garden, across from the compost area.
That garden is now a registered monarch way station. Filled with milkweed and pollinator plants, it is flourishing.
Inspired Community Garden members help plant, water and maintain it.
Alice was also a driving force behind the habitat at WTF, and 2 others on Cross Highway. Beyond providing monarchs with homes, she helps ensure them a pathway of habitats on their migratory routes.
There’s a lot more to that than just planting milkweed and “letting nature do its thing,” Alice notes. It’s painstaking work — but it pays off in gorgeous, environmentally crucial ways.
Monarch butterflies — and the rest of nature that they nurture — can’t thank Alice Ely.
But “06880” readers can. Which is why she is this week’s Unsung Hero.
(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Send nominations to: firstname.lastname@example.org)