OAKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - You might not think Monarch butterflies have much in common with huge piles of trash.
But the way John Thomas of Oakland, Maine sees it, they're a match made in heaven.
"I've always looked out for wildlife, says the Transfer Station Manager. "I guess I was brought up that way by my father."
And late last summer Thomas noticed Monarchs feeding on the only patch of flowers that hadn't been mowed down.
"That was only feeding station they had. This year it's different," he said.
Instead of acres of close-cropped grass, the 12 acre capped landfill is abundant with wild flowers and wildlife.
But Thomas wanted to do more than simply cut back on mowing. He wanted to sow an annual and perennial mix that would serve as a butterfly feeding station.
Of course, because trash is heavily regulated, he first needed to get Maine' s Department of Environmental Protection to buy into his idea.
'They were kind of shy on the deal at first, until they realized i'm willing to do whatever it takes," said Thomas.
In mid July, they hydroseeded several test plots on the landfill with 40 pounds of seed.
Next year Thomas will dig up the flowers to examine their root systems.
That's the key because they need to be sure the flowers' roots don't infiltrate the 2 foot thick clay cap that's keeping this trash mountain and its' toxins secure.
If the project is successful, Thomas expects other transfer stations with landfills to follow suit.
"I'd like to see it go national!." Thomas said. "Why not? Every town's got one of these."
Maybe it takes a trash man's vantage point to fully grasp man's impact on the environment.
'The human race is in control. If we don't start paying attention, we could lose a lot," said Thomas.
He says he figures giving butterflies a place to refuel is the least he can do.