You Can Save the Monarch Butterfly by Planting Milkweed

These iconic natural pollinators boost the health of our world.

Feb 16, 2021
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You Can Save the Monarch Butterfly by Planting Milkweed | These iconic natural pollinators boost the health of our world.

Colorful and delicate, like the flowers they help to flourish, Monarch butterflies are one of the most iconic butterflies in North America. These magical creatures are one of nature’s most perfect examples of transformation, resilience, and growth. 

Being natural pollinators that are always on the move, monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed, a perennial wildflower, all along their migratory journey from Mexico and California to northern Canada, according to yesmagazine.org. And since most of them breed and die on the way, it can take them up to seven generations to get to their final destination.

Why are they so important? Monarch butterflies contribute to the health of our planet by pollinating many different species of wildflowers while feeding on nectar, The National Park Service of the US reveals.

Unfortunately, farming practices, including the use of pesticides and other chemicals, together with the impact of climate change, are causing a significant decline in the number of these amazing life creators. Their populations have dropped more than 90 percent over the last two decades, reveals The Environmental Defense Fund of the United States. 

The consequences are a real challenge for the environment and all living creatures. This is because 75 percent of flowering species and 35 percent of globally available food depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. This is detailed in a report from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Milkweed leaves are the only food source the endangered larvae need and therefore, there are several ways in which you can contribute to halt the decline of their population, as suggested by yesmagazine.org. Here are three of them you can get started on immediately:

Plant milkweed at home
Individual efforts are key to start raising awareness and conserve the monarch migration. Planting milkweed in your garden or meadow can provide the necessary habitat and food for monarch butterflies, as well as for other animal pollinators such as bees. Not to mention that you will enjoy the beauty of these essential plants.

You can start by learning how, when and where to grow healthy milkweed from plants or from seeds, by following this guide from Americanmeadows.com. 

Be a change agent in your community
If your yard is too small or you aim to create a bigger impact, provide your community with information and talk to your local authority to collectively support and protect the monarch migration through a broad scale program. The idea is simple: the more milkweed that is planted in parks, businesses, roads or any other open spaces, the more monarch waystations there will be for these lovely creatures to complete their long and beneficial journey.

Garden organically
Avoid using any type of chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides or fungicides that could affect monarchs or what they eat. Organic gardening is the perfect option for keeping pests away without endangering those insects that are beneficial to the environment.

Whether you implement just one of the above actions or all three, you will be positively affecting monarch butterflies, other animal species and humankind as well. 

Remember that a small step can still have considerable impact, so start planting milkweed and you will be helping a highly cherished American icon, one long considered a symbol of change and determination, on its journey through its final destination.

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DAIANA BROJT, CONTRIBUTOR
With a love for fashion, technology, self-development, nature and communication, Daiana is a freelance writer. She is the creator of an online community platform dedicated to providing inspiration and information on trends, developments and positive impact initiatives in the world of Sustainable Fashion.
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