Monarch Watch is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration. "Every fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to mountains in central Mexico where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. The monarch migration is truly one of the world's greatest natural wonders yet it is threatened by habitat loss at overwintering grounds in Mexico and throughout breeding areas in the United States and Canada."
Habitat loss for monarch butterflies is drastically declining due to development. It is estimated that the loss of habitat for monarchs is "declining at a rate of 6,000 acres a day - that's 2.2 million acres each year." In addition, agricultural practices have greatly impacted monarch habitat. Herbicide resistant crops have lead to farmer's using Round Up as a way to control weeds in these fields. Milkweed, a main food source for monarch's is killed off along with the nearby plants deemed "weeds". In addition, mowing next to roadsides, conversion of former native plantings to grass, and overall development has lead to a vast decrease in monarch's habitat.
So what can you do to help!! One of the most valuable programs that Monarch Watch runs is their "Monarch Waystation Program". So what is a waystation? As the name reflects, a waystation is a stopping point along a journey. In regards to monarchs, it is a place for monarch's to forage for healthy food (milkweed - is a host plant that larva need to develop into butterflies) and provide a safe (free of pesticides) place to shelter. Monarch Watch provides guidelines and instructions on how to create your own monarch waystation in your yard, at your community park, your school or any open land. Monarch Watch's website will educate you on the types of milkweed to add to your garden as well as how to best maintain it. They also encourage you to register your waystation. As of August 4, 2021, "there have been 35,768 monarch waystations registered" throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
So what's stopping you from making a change. Click on the link below to learn more about the Monarch Waystation program or contact us to help you recreate your yard into a monarch butterfly haven.