Living in the lush mountains of upstate New York, we are blessed to be surrounded by acres upon acres of lush meadows and fields. My kids have always been around nature. In fact, I still remember when my daughter was entering 3rd grade, we were to look at the milkweed plants to try to find a Monarch Caterpillar. We did and we sent it in to her class. Every year the third grade does this and they raise the caterpillars and set the gorgeous Monarchs free.
We are in a crisis though, since 1990 the Monarch populations has decreased by 90%. I have noticed how rare it is to see a Monarch but was surprised to learn we lost such a large percentage. The more I thought, I could not recall seeing even see one last year. The beautiful yellow Swallowtail butterflies are prevalent and feed on the many succulent perennials in my garden. I have to do my part this year to try to bring the Monarch population back!
You may be wondering what we can do. It’s as easy as planting Milkweed. Milkweed serves as a food source, nursery and home for the Monarchs. The National Wildlife Federation says there is hope for the Monarch if we act now. Below you find 6 ways to save Monarchs with the NWF. This information and more is on their website so click the links below to learn more.
Six Ways to Save Monarchs with NWF
- Help Save Grasslands – America’s native grasslands are critically important for monarchs. They offer both milkweed for monarch caterpillars as well as nectar plants for adult butterflies (and many other pollinators too). Today, more than 90 percent of native grasslands have been converted to cropland and development. Grasslands are disappearing faster than any other ecosystem in North America, and that’s a big problem for monarchs. Join NWF in fighting to save grasslands for monarchs.
- Support Highway Habitat Corridor – NWF and USFWS are working to create a coalition of agriculture leaders and highway transportation organizations to plant milkweed and nectar plants along monarch migratory flyways and in other important monarch breeding grounds along key Midwest and Texas corridors. Learn more about highway habitat corridor plan and how to support it.
- Plant Milkweed – You can make saving the monarch personal by planting milkweed in your yard or garden. There are many milkweed species found in North America, so no matter where you live, there’s at least one species native to your area. You’ll be rewarded not only with he knowledge that you are making a difference, but by attracting monarchs to enjoy. Find out what milkweeds are from your region.
- Don’t Use Pesticides – Monarchs are insects, and so spraying insecticides will kill them. Make the commitment to avoid spraying pesticides in your yard. Find out how to garden organically.
- Create Monarch Habitat– NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program can teach you how to turn any outdoor space into a complete habitat for monarch. Just provide food, water, cover and places to raise young. It all starts with what you plant and you can create a habitat garden in your own yard, at your office, your church or the local school grounds. Entire communities are launching efforts to create monarch habitat. Learn how to create a wildlife-friendly garden.
- Join NWF Affiliate Efforts in Your State — Eleven of NWF’s state affiliates are active partners in the Garden for Wildlife program, teaching people how to create habitat for monarchs and other wildlife. They offer regional expertise and resources, offering native milkweed seeds, running monarch tagging and citizen science efforts and even working on legislative solutions. Joining these efforts is a great way to get involved on the local level. Find out if your state’s NWF affiliate is working to protect monarchs.
I hope you will join me in doing our part to create a natural habitat for the Monarchs. Please let me know if you plan to participate. I am really looking forward to seeing more and more of these beautiful creatures. I know we will if we all do our part. So, are you in?