Impact: Help Save Monarch Butterflies

By Abbey Tiderman 11.04.2015 interact

Did you know birds aren’t the only species that migrate south for the winter? Monarch butterflies, with their elegant orange and black patterned wings make their way nearly 3,000 miles from Canada each year to winter on Oyamel fir trees in the mountains of Mexico. To complete their amazing “round trip,” it takes several generations of monarchs before they’re back in the north.

But there’s a big problem. In order for these important pollinators to survive their long journey, they need milkweed, which serves as both fuel and safe spot to lay their eggs.

These days, however, much of the milkweed and once-thriving habitat along the monarchs’ migratory route has been destroyed by herbicides and cleared to make way for more large-scale agriculture. Those butterflies that do survive the trek to Mexico amidst tough conditions including drought and extreme temperatures, often face the realities of illegally logged out forests there. As a result of these factors, over the past 20 years the monarch butterfly population has declined by 90 percent.

Why should you care about this staggering rate of decline among monarchs? For starters, they help pollinate the plants we consume everyday. In fact, according to the National Pollinator Garden Network, pollinators like butterflies and bees are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we take. Human activity is a big part of the problem here, but there are some significant steps we can take to help save monarch butterflies.

This is perhaps the biggest impact you can have on the recovery of monarch butterflies, as milkweed is vital for their survival. Select your state in the milkweed seed finder tool and see if there are suppliers in your area with milkweed seeds native to your region. This is an important distinction—milkweed that’s not native to your geographical area can do harm to the already-fragile migration system of monarchs. Once you’ve got your native milkweed seeds, organize planting parties with friends, family and classmates to increase impact.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) provides several ways you can “adopt a monarch.” Donate at a level you’re comfortable with, receive various keepsakes as a adoption thank-you, and WWF will put the funds toward vital conservation efforts.

By ordering eggs or larvae from a butterfly rearing facility and rearing yourself over approximately 30 days, then releasing, you can help boost the monarch population and experience a fascinating lesson in the metamorphosis process.

  • Say No to Pesticides & Herbicides

When it comes to your own garden and selecting food from the grocery store or market, go organic wherever possible. The use of pesticides and herbicides often intended to increase food yield are having a devastating effect on the very pollinators we depend on to keep those food sources thriving.

comments

  1. Amisha G.

    We should help the monarchs. They are special and we don’t want them to go extinct. They are amazing and beautiful in their precious life.

  2. Kc shehan

    poor butterflies alone so muchwhen people say the butterflies!!!

  3. merry

    butterflys are beautiful but i consider them as if they was a flying bug and im scared of bugs girls arent you i mean they fly.

  4. Peter

    We should help sava monarchs

  5. Peter

    I think people these day don’t go to church because they think it boring

  6. Kaylee .H

    Yes,we shoiuld keep the monarchs alive not only are they beatuful they are just as important as bees,Bees could eventually go exstinct then if we keep the butterflies alive all the flowers would keep getting pollen.

  7. Lindsey

    I think we should save the butterfly’s because they are one of nature’s most beautiful creatures that help the flowers, also people of all ages love them! 🙂

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