The Monarch Butterfly is a remarkable insect with a life migration story encompassing many generations and thousands of miles. They are critical pollinators for our wildflowers, trees, vegetables and other crops.

Monarchs have lost 80% of their population in a few decades, in part from climate change, in part from loss of habitat and loss of milkweed plants, the latter due largely to overdevelopment and also modern farming practices such as monocropping (the practice of planting only one or two crops at a time to maximize profit, leaving pollinators with large areas bereft of blooms, once the main crops have blossomed.)

The use of toxic herbicides affect milkweed and other nectar plants that Monarchs rely on and the Monarchs themselves are affected by widespread use of pesticides -used in urban settings, as well as in non-organic farming.

Milkweed is necessary for the Monarch’s survival, as this is the plant they lay their eggs on. Also, the adult Monarchs need a variety of nectar plants to feed on. The resources listed below give more details on plants that will help the Monarch Butterfly survive.                

 

GLEA at the St. Clair County Earth Fair, 2018 

                                                                            

                                               

In 2018, GLEA volunteers distributed milkweed seeds and information on how to create a Monarch Habitat in your own backyard, at spring and summer events. Please join us in 2019 in our efforts to protect this important, amazing and beautiful pollinator.

 

 

 What You Can Do

Create a Monarch Waystation at your home or school. Learn More: Go to Monarch Watch and click on their Monarch Waystation Program

Collect milkweed seeds!

·          Plant them. Share them with other gardeners. One webpage with growing instructions is from The Monarch Butterfly Garden: https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/cold-moist-stratification-milkweed-seeds/

·          Send them to organizations that distribute them. One such organization is Monarch Watch. See: https://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/milkweed-regions-seed-needs/

Participate in Projects for Schools and Non-Profits. 

Raise Monarch Butterflies. Visit the Monarch Butterfly Garden webpage here for more information: https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/monarch-butterfly-kit/

Plant Milkweed Native to Your Area* (Monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves.)         

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) 
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)                            
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) 

General Nectar Plants ** (Adult Monarch butterflies feed on these.)
Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea)
Tithonia Torch, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia)
Zinnia, Dahlia Mix (Zinnia elegans)

* Plants listed are local to the Great Lakes Region.

** This is only a partial list of nectar plants that adult Monarchs in the Great Lakes Region feed on.

Learn more! Resources on Monarch Butterflies - Check out their links!

Kidzone has a special page on Monarch Butterflies (with clip art you can use in reports and puzzles for fun.) See: https://www.kidzone.ws/animals/monarch_butterfly.htm

U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Save the Monarch Butterfly website has many actions you can take. Visit their site to learn about these and other opportunities: Plant milkweed native to your area; Become a Citizen Scientist and help monitor Monarchs where you live.  Note that this is their Midwest page. See:  https://www.fws.gov/midwest/monarch/  - They also have a Monarch Migration Map: https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/migration-map.pdf 

Become a Butterfly Hero with National Wildlife Federation: https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Monarch-Butterfly

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a campaign to register a million public and private gardens and landscapes to support pollinators. See:  http://millionpollinatorgardens.org/

The Xerces Society has a Monarch Conservation page: https://xerces.org/monarchs/ and also a Milkweed Seed Finder: https://xerces.org/milkweed-seed-finder/

North American Butterfly Association also has great resources on butterfly gardens and counts (for all butterflies): https://www.naba.org/

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources webpage on Monarchs – One of very few places you can see large numbers of Monarch butterflies during their migration is at Peninsula Point in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  See https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79137_79770_79873_80003-429207--,00.html

MSU (Michigan State University) Extension posts information on a program from USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) that allows financial assistance to landscapers, nursery owners and gardeners to create or improve habitat for Monarch butterflies. Learn more: https://tinyurl.com/ycc5s78j

 

 

Help GLEA save our Monarch butterfly!