Home Brick Life Project Will Add Native Plants, Attract Monarch Butterflies to Windward Beach

Project Will Add Native Plants, Attract Monarch Butterflies to Windward Beach

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Monarch Butterfly (Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service)
Monarch Butterfly (Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Brick officials this week approved a project that will be undertaken by a resident volunteer and a prospective Eagle Scout to re-establish native plants in an area of Windward Beach Park and attract monarch butterflies to the waterfront area.

The project, dubbed “Monarch Mountains” by John Zingis, a township resident who is an environmental consultant by trade, will center on two hills near the access ramp to the waterfront pier on the Metedeconk River.

“They’re devoid of vegetation,” said Zingis. “I think it’s a great educational opportunity for all of the residents of Brick Township to get away from your typical mowed lawns and introduce some native plant species.”

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The native plants under consideration include those that will specifically attract monarch butterflies, the population of which has been in decline in recent years. Zingis said he and his wife are involved in a monarch tagging program in Cape May, and he would like to bring the same idea to Brick.

“This could be a destination point for residents in the area where they could come and participate, and get educated on monarchs,” he said.

Monarch Mountains will also serve as an Eagle Scout project for Liam Bergin, who will work with Zingis and other Boy Scout and Girl Scout volunteers to prepare the area and plant the new species.

“It’s a very big and important step in my life,” Bergin told the council during a meeting this week. “I just want to thank everybody for allowing me to do this for myself, and for the butterfly population, so it can make a comeback. Everybody thinks monarch butterflies are good – they’re beautiful, they’re great, so why not have more of them?”

Despite some occasional comebacks, the monarch population has been on the downswing in recent years, with one of the lowest measurements of butterfly-populated areas having been recorded in 2014. Loss of habitat in summer breeding areas, such as New Jersey, and frequent storms combined with deforestation in Mexico, where the monarchs overwinter, have been cited as causes, according to Monarch Watch, a research and education program based out of the University of Kansas.

The native plants will not only provide habitat and pollination opportunities, Zingis said, but put Windward Beach on the map as an area where the colorful insects congregate.

For one township official, the project’s approval brought back a sentimental memory from nearly 30 years ago when she first moved to town.

“A co-worker of mine had come down, and we went to Windward Beach,” said Councilwoman Andrea Zapcic. “There was really nothing there at the time, it was just fields and reeds. I remember the field being full of monarch butterflies, and my son, who was two or three at the time, was just enthralled by the site. My friend snapped a photo, I still have it, of my son with the butterflies. I hope one day when I’m on the porch of the home, it’s one of the things I still remember – something beautiful about Brick.”


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  • SoWhat?

    Please cut down those hideous giant hedges that run down the center of Windward Beach along the road. They were unecessary when they were first planted and now they are totally useless and distracting. They obstruct the entire view of the park and make it seem very small.

    Please cut them down or remove them.

    When my kids are there I cant see across the hedges to watch them .

    • KaayC

      I love those hedges! They turn a beautiful crimson color in the fall!

  • SoWhat?

    Zapcic is correct, Windward Beach and Brick Township were beautiful when she moved down here.
    It has been getting worse ever since.

    Windward used to be a beautiful, natural, passive park and recreation area. Families could enjoy the small beach and swim and picnic. There was small playground area for children. Water quality not so great and it still isnt, but people used to fish and crab and use seine nets on the river and beach front.
    Families barbqued where ever they wanted. You could park your cars and barbque underneath the pine trees or anywhere you wanted. Everything was free and well maintained in a natural setting.

    Then the north Jersey democrats moved down and took over. They cleared the woods and meadows and built parking lots and gazebos and bandshell. They starting restricting passive activities and made it into a police state urban type park. Starting requiring badges and fees and limiting areas where you could park and drive and barbque and picnic.

    Having grown up here in the 60s and 70s, Windward Beach was much better and enjoyable and we had more freedom to enjoy its natural beauty, without interference and regulation from the police and government.

    In a way its improved with the bandshell and concerts, but I like the old passive beauty of the long ago Windward. ,,When butterflies were plentiful and they were free to fly.

    • KaayC

      I planted a flower bed in front of my home and had loads of butterflies all summer long. Bees too! I think this project is great. Nice to read something good!

  • Ward Christian

    In 2014, my wife and I started the SaveOurMonarchs Foundation. You can get Free Milkweed Seeds at SaveOurMonarchs.org

    We sent over 1 Million Milkweed Seed Packets in 2015.
    We expect to send over 2 Million in 2016.

    We would appreciate your support.

  • SoWhat?

    Can someone throw a big butterfly net over JW and Frank and lock them up in the racist looney bin? Please?