Under sunny skies, a ceremony marked the dedication of a butterfly garden in Seaside Park early yesterday afternoon.
A few dozen spectators watched as Mayor Robert W. Matthies cut the blue ribbon to signal the official opening of the “monarch waystation” at the 14th Avenue Pier grounds along the Barnegat Bay.
“This project is for the greater good, beyond the scope of Seaside Park, but we’re so proud that what it’s going to be and represent that we are one of the first communities online in this program to preserve the monarchs,” the mayor said to the crowd.
The borough’s Environmental Advisory Committee spearheaded the project. Students from the Lavallette Elementary School raised butterflies and released them in the garden during the ceremony.
Environmental Advisory Committee member Margaret Husar said that the plants within the garden attract monarch butterflies. When in the garden, Husar said, the butterflies lay eggs, which stick to the vegetation.
According to monarchwatch.org, the monarch butterfly population has recently been in decline, possibly due to weather patterns and loss of habitat. The species winters in Mexico.