We recently participated in the North American Butterfly Association count at the farm, one of about 10 other locations in the Shenandoah Valley which comprise a regional count centered around the Shenandoah National Park.
Each year, on a certain date, volunteers tromp through fields and drive along back roads to survey the numbers and types of butterflies seen.
This year marked the 18th year the Shenandoah National Park count has been held and marked the 6th year the White House Farm has participated.
According to Mike Smith, the regional organizer, 33 participants covered over 32 miles on foot and 47.5 total hours of surveying.
This year a total of 3146 individual butterflies were counted (2522 in 2013) and 45 different species were spotted, the same as 2013. Only 34 monarchs were noted but this was up from a dismal 5 for last year.
Farm owner Scott Plein is supporting our local Lepidoptera by planting additional wildflowers, native shrubs and trees on the property. A large landscape planting along the back driveway designed by the Natural Garden consists of switchgrass, elderberry, chokeberry, arrowwood, New York ironweed, New England aster, false blue indigo, Joe Pye weed, blazing star, spotted horsemint, rudbeckia, Echinacea, cardinal flower, butterfly weed and goldenrod.
Just click on an image and enjoy these beautiful photos!
Are you interested in learning more about butterflies?
Our favorite guides include:
- National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies
- Field Guide to Butterflies of North America by Kenn Kaufman and Jim P. Brock
- The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars by Thomas J. Allen.