The day before what would have been Evelyn Jackson‘s 100th birthday, I saw a Monarch Butterfly lay eggs in the garden she made possible. I’m so happy! We hadn’t seen Monarchs here in years but hoped they would come back if we provided a haven for them. I planted three types of Milkweed and loads of other nectar plants that feed the migrating adult Butterflies.
The first year, no Monarchs. The second year, two Monarchs. This year, five Monarchs so far and possibly many more in about a month!
Monarchs are Endangered
Last month, the ICUN added Monarchs to its Red List for Endangered Species. The Eastern population is down 84% between 1996 and 2014. The Western population fares even worse: down 99.9% between the 1980s and 2020. And these are the beloved, charismatic Monarchs. We are in the midst of an Insectageddon, where even insects in German nature preserves are down 76% in just 26 years. We need more research to understand the situation worldwide, but papers in a special issue of PNAS found insect populations decreasing by 1 to 2% every year. That’s 10 to 20% in a decade.
How to Help Monarchs
Please join me in helping Monarchs thrive by:
- Planting Milkweeds that are native to your area. Try the Find Butterfly feature of this Native Plant Finder.
- Planting other flowering plants to help feed the adult Butterflies as they migrate.
- Avoiding pesticides and herbicides, including Mosquito spray. Eat organic food if you can, so farmers avoid toxins too.
- Minimize food waste and eat plants, not animals. This reduces deforestation, pollution, and global warming.
- Talking with your neighbors about protecting Monarchs.
Please do not:
- Plant the non-native Tropical Milkweed
- Buy or support the captive breeding and release of Monarchs, a strange trend for weddings and other events
Taking some or all of these steps to protect Monarchs will also protect other Butterflies, Birds, and the whole Web of Life.