When the visitor wearing a robe fit for a king flitted into Coyote Trails Nature Center in Medford last summer, Molly Kreuzman was more than ready for royalty.
The grounds and facility manager for the nonprofit center had just read an article about a local retired scientist working to attract more monarch butterflies to the region by encouraging residents to plant milkweed, the fluttery creature's food source.
"I found out about the milkweed and the monarch project from an article in the Mail Tribune about Tom Landis," she said, referring to the forester who was the U.S. Forest Service's top nursery specialist in the West before he retired.
What: "Monarchs, Milkweed & Seeds in a Ball" workshop
Where: Coyote Trails Nature Center, US Cellular Community Park, 2931 S. Pacific Highway, Medford
When: 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday
Sponsor: Coyote Trails Nature Center
Cost: $8 per person. Preregistration required.
Information: Call 541-282-8577 or see coyotetrails.org
"And then I saw the monarchs that come through here last summer," she added.
Inspired, she scheduled a workshop at the educational facility called "Monarchs, Milkweed & Seeds in a Ball."
The event will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the center, which is at US Cellular Community Park, 2931 S. Pacific Highway, Medford.
Preregistration is required for the workshop, which costs $8 per person. For more information, call 541-282-8577 or see coyotetrails.org.
The workshop will be capped at about 25 people. If more apply, a second workshop will likely be held, she said.
During the first half of the workshop, Landis will give a Powerpoint presentation on why monarchs, once a common local sight during the summers, are now seldom seen.
Landis has noted that many experts believe the decline in monarch populations is partly because of the removal of milkweed and nectar plants along their migration routes. He will talk about the native species of milkweed plants, which monarch caterpillars must have to survive, how to identify them and how to propagate them.
"Tom is just a font of knowledge," Kreuzman said. "He has so much information about monarchs and milkweeds."
During the second portion of the workshop, local resident Gail Saito will teach a hands-on class about how to make seed balls containing milkweed seeds.
"Gail will show people how to make a seed ball by putting seeds on compost, then rolling them in red clay," Molly Kreuzman explained. "After the first frost, you throw the ball out on the landscape and they will germinate that spring. You don't have to plant them."
"Everything out here is for fun and for teaching," Kreuzman said, noting the workshop will accomplish both goals.
Molly and her husband, Joe, who started Coyote Trails School of Nature in 2003, have been holding classes at the center since they were given stewardship of the 7-acre parcel bordering Bear Creek in Medford two years ago. They have a 15-year lease with the Medford Parks and Recreation Department.
The center provides a rare natural area within an urban environment, indicated Molly Kreuzman, who works as a full-time volunteer at the site.
"Kids don't get to run and 'whoop!' anymore," she said. "This allows them to do that, and to learn about nature."
The center also is a place of learning for adults, she is quick to observe. The center does not receive tax dollars but operates through direct donations, grants and volunteers, she said.
For example, the pollinator garden, also known as the Bee Tree Garden, was built by volunteers from the Ford Family Foundation.
The garden is just past the two massive black walnut trees she has nicknamed "Harold and Maude." The walnuts are evidence of a farm that once stood on the property.
A sign reads, "Welcome to the Bee Tree Garden." Ostensibly, the sign is for bipeds, but would also serve as a guide to English-reading monarchs.
"It will draw butterflies, bees and hummingbirds," she said, noting most of the plants are flowers that will attract pollinators.
"But we don't have any milkweed yet," she said. "My hope is to have various patches of milkweed around the center so monarchs will flit around. We want a place where monarchs will stop in and hang around."
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or firstname.lastname@example.org.