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I was so happy to see a migratory monarch butterfly in my front garden this week. They are just one of the insect kingdom’s loveliest summer creatures, along with fireflies and (outdoor) crickets. Sadly, on July 21, the monarch was added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Endangered species list.

IUCN says these fragile creatures fly up to 2,500 miles from the U.S. and Canada where they breed, all the way down to the forests in central Mexico where they hibernate. The monarch’s migratory pattern is the most highly evolved of any known species of their kind.

Their population has shrunk by between 22% and 72% over the past decade. Legal and illegal logging and deforestation to make space for agriculture and urban development have already destroyed substantial areas of the butterflies’ winter shelter in Mexico and California, while pesticides and herbicides used in intensive agriculture across the range kill butterflies and milkweed, the host plant on which the larvae of the monarch butterfly feed.

The World Wildlife Organization suggests that if we all keep, or plant, just a small patch of local wildflowers — especially milkweed for the caterpillars — we might make a difference to the survival of the migratory monarch butterfly species.

Thank you!

A big shout-out to Bill and Jeri who collected a surprising amount of trash along Village Road last Sunday — trash that was magically revealed after the roadside trimmer came through. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to brighten the town for us all.

More music

Justin and Carla, playing as Darshan Music, will be performing at Beech Hill Preserve (316 Beech Hill Road, Rockport) on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 5 p.m. This open-air kirtan is a devotional performance art rooted in the Bhakti traditions of India. All are welcome to this free concert.

Town Office

You will have noticed that the Route 7 bridge replacement project is underway (the bridge at the bottom of the hill below the Town Office. Once the initial preparations are complete, this section of Route 7 will have a one-lane bypass, with a traffic light. Once the work has started it is expected to take two months to complete.

Pilley House

The Brooks Historical Society will hold its next open house on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 14, 1-3 p.m. All are welcome to come enjoy a walk down memory lane and beyond.

Droughty

There is a distinct crunchiness afoot. The rivers and streams are getting lower and lower. I have begun to give out a bit of hay to the sheep — though I hate to do it this early. My hay is greener than some of their pastures. The weekly national drought monitor most recently reports that the Maine coastal region from the Midcoast south is in a “severe” drought, the middle of five drought ratings. The rest of the southern half of the state is in an “abnormally dry” or “moderate” drought. There are a number of fascinating graphics at the government drought monitoring website: drought.gov/current-conditions.

It might be time to think about water usage if you are using dug, or less deep, wells. Stay cool, stay hydrated and enjoy summer for summer’s sake.