Seventh Annual Long Island Natural History Conference















The Pageantry of the Monarch Butterfly

John E. Potente
naturalist & instructor at Greentree Foundation's Teachers' Ecology Workshop

Abstract: The monarch butterfly has been an angelic and enigmatic figure for naturalists, artists, teachers and dreamers since humans first stepped foot on Long Island. How many times people stopped what they were doing to look and gaze at a passing monarch butterfly. Its brief life travels from a tiny egg on a leaf to a crawling caterpillar to a migrating champion. Yet, its endurance as a species is being challenged by loss of its habitat and chemical toxins. While, its numbers are declining, there is a growing concern and effort on the part of educators and gardeners to provide them with welcoming spaces with their host plants. Of the many efforts underway, the Greentree Foundation Teachers' Ecology Workshop has made great progress, bolstering the Long Island population.

John became the first director of the American Chestnut Foundation on Long Island in 1995 and founded Native America in 1998. He has served as executive board member and editor of the Long Island Botanical Society. While serving on Suffolk County’s Council on Environmental Quality (2005-2007), his critique of the county’s policies on marsh management and pesticide application gained him the Dennis Puleston Conservation Award. He has published "Tidal Marshes of Long Island, New York" and "Ode to an Egg" (2018). John instructs public and private school teachers about the natural history of Long Island, including the life history of the Monarch Butterfly.