God has blessed Hope Meadow this year with numerous flowers, pollinators, and birds! Many people visit and appreciate the uplifting blooms, inspecting the small butterfly skippers, and enjoying the monarchs. Most of the yellow flowers in the meadow are Black-eyed Susan. The light purple flowers are Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). Wild Bergamot is a great pollinator plant. It will attract large swallowtail butterflies, and hummingbirds love to drink the nectar. We also have dark purple flowers near the Ephrata Rail-Trail that are butterfly magnets called Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata). The birdbox near the Rail-Trail has hosted a family of Tree Swallows all summer. They currently have their second set of chicks. Many trail-users enjoy stopping and watching them swoop in and feed the nestlings.
Hope Meadow is also Lancaster County’s first Sacred Grounds! Sacred Grounds is a program through the National Wildlife Federation that recognizes congregations, houses of worship, and faith-based communities that create wildlife habitats and actively link faith practices and caring for the environment. Hope Meadow provides food, water, cover, places to raise young, and sustainable practices. Hope Meadow is also a Monarch Waystation. To become a Monarch Waystation, the location must have good exposure to the sun for the plants and the butterflies, provide shelter, contain milkweed and nectar plants, and have a management plan. The meadow has many shelter areas for monarchs. Monarch butterflies rest for the night in our pine trees that grow alongside the meadow. The meadow has three types of milkweed plants that monarch caterpillars eat: Butterfly weed, Common milkweed, and Swamp milkweed.
We are well into the design process for the sign for Hope Meadow. We plan to have the placard installed by the end of October. Stay tuned for a September Monarch tagging event in Hope Meadow!