Sherman Public Library opens new monarch way station

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The Sherman Public Library has been recognized as a monarch butterfly way station.

Monarch butterflies now have a new place to rest and recharge on their annual trip south for the winter. The Sherman Public Library announced this week that it has been recognized as a monarch butterfly way station.

The designation comes following the opening of a new park and garden outside the library last year that features many native plants, including those that attract the butterfly.

"It is really about providing a healthy stop for them along the way and providing food for them," Sherman Public Library Director MeLissa Eason said Wednesday.

The idea for the way station came following a tour of a Dallas library that featured a similar garden. From there, Eason said she wanted to replicate something similar in Sherman.

"I thought it was really interesting that the library took care of it and the friends of the library were involved," Eason said.

Each fall, thousands of monarchs travel south toward the warmer climates of Mexico and Central America for the winter. Along the way, they feed on plants such as milkweed and butterfly weed.

In addition to these plants, city and library staff and volunteers planted other species that attract the butterfly and other native pollinators.

"Native plants are easy to take care of," she said. "They require less care, water and pesticide because they were made for this area."

Initial plans called for the station to be positioned next to the new park pavilion, but it was expanded not only into the park but also next to the children's area in the library.

The way station provides more than just a place for the butterflies to feed on their trip. Eason said the station can help support native species of insects in the area, which are a sign of environmental health.

While the station has been designated, Eason said work is not done quite yet. Organizers still have additional planting to do to complete the site.

Grayson County AgriLife Extension Service and Grayson County Master Gardeners helped design and create the site.