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Monarch Butterflies

                                                         

Saving the Monarch Butterfly!  by Catherine Williams

Are you ready to be a Citizen Scientist?  The Monarch Migration has started.  You can be a part of the observation of monarchs in our area.  The "Journey North" website has a way to report sightings, view the list others have seen, and follow a map of all sightings posted. (See Map Below)  You can add to and keep track of the migration at: here and you can login your report here.  The Fall map starts at August 30, 2015 and will go to after October 24, 2015 or until they get to their Mexican wintering area. 

Other Citizen Scientist projects can be found at this website

Make Way for Monarchs website has maps of the migration and posters that you can download here .

We are gardeners!  What can we do to help the monarch?  You can create and modify your garden to meet certification standards.  North American Butterfly Association has a certification program that requires:
1.  at least 3 different native caterpillar food plants grown,
2.  at least 3 different native butterfly nectar sources grown,
3.  the use of pesticides is discouraged. 

You are asked to grow more than one plant of selected species.  Realize pesticides kill butterflies (especially the caterpillars) and other pollinators. 

You are also asked to join the North American Butterfly Association organization($35).  There is a fee of $15 for certification.  For another $25 you can purchase an identification sign. 

Wild Ones is a group promoting native plantings in our gardens.  They have over 4,000 members and are aiming toward members in each state of the United States.  They are young but they are strong.  They voted to partner with Monarch Joint Venture in 2012.  They also have a rigorous butterfly garden certification program that you can sign-up for.  On their website  under the heading, "Healing the Earth one yard at a time," you can find lists of suggested plants for certified gardens and a form to fill out to become certified.  Their lists include shrubs, forbs, sedges, grasses and trees.  You do have to be a member of their organization ($37) to be certified by them.  There is a $25 fee to cover the cost of the program, the sign, and shipping and handling.  There are other stipulations they have as well. 

You can visit their website for free to be connected to many other sites that are helping the monarch butterflies.  They have information you can download concerning monarchs and their needs. 

The University of Minnesota Monarch Lab  in partnership with the Monarch Joint Venture has developed a booklet titled:  "Monarch Breeding Habitat Assessment Tool."  The authors are Wendy Caldwell and Karen Oberhauser.  You can download it for free.  It too has a habitat assessment in it that can be registered at the University of Minnesota.  This is much more comprehensive than the other certifications.  The areas are bigger than just a small butterfly garden.

Karen Oberhauser, University of Minnesota, has been working with the Whitehouse representatives for the "national pollinator plan."  They passed a version in May but there is not much funding for it at this point.  Their vision is seeding the I35 corridor from Minnesota to Texas with milkweed.  Other roadsides and clear cut areas will be seeded as well.  They want to increase the monarch population from 57 million now to 225 million.  In the wild it is thought that 1 out of 100 seeds germinate.  As gardeners, we can increase that percentage.  We do not have enough seeds to do the whole mid-west prairie area but we can get started. 

                 

                     Monarch Butterfly Migration Map: Check on the Sightings!


Monarch Butterfly Migration Map                                                                                                                                     
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