John “Monarch” Maciolek, a 2017 Hood College graduate in the Environment Biology program, has single-handedly been advocating for a monarch butterfly habitat in the newly-opened Hood-Frederick Memorial Hospital Resource Garden since its inception this spring. John’s assistance with the garden has been invaluable. He has not only donated his free time and effort, but milkweed plants from his property, all to develop an environment friendly to the monarch butterfly. The milkweed is the only plant in which the monarch can lay their eggs, and as the monarch’s natural habitats are being destroyed, the preservation of milkweed is crucial.
According to John, three species of milkweeds are planted in the Garden; Common Milkweed, Butterflyweed and Swamp Milkweed, with future plans for at least five different species. What makes this project even more notable is the fact that there are pollinator plants in close proximity to Milkweeds, so the butterflies will have food at the same spot. John believes that the garden is “a great educational tool that can be used as a resource for a number of Hood classes, like Environmental Problems, Insect Ecology and Conservation Biology.”
John started his Masters in Environmental Biology after several years in the Bioinformatics field. His career transition inspired him to develop plans for opening a nursery which would focus on native plants and their preservation, as well as establishing a non-profit which would work to purchase and preserve land before it is sold for large developments. “There are so many ways of developing infrastructure without having sprawl. I am not anti-business, just anti-sprawl.”
While working toward these career goals, John will continue overseeing Hood’s Monarch Garden, which has been endorsed by both Monarch Watch and the Xerces Society. John encourages anyone who is interested in helping these beautiful butterflies to volunteer with the Hood-FMH Resource Garden.