From the bean of Green Bean.
By now, you have probably heard of the dramatic decline in Monarch butterflies. For millennia, Monarchs have made a yearly trek from Canada to Mexico and along the California coast. Over the past decade, the number of butterflies migrating has plummeted. This past winter reached an all time low of an estimated "33 million monarchs compared to the peak of 1 billion in 1996."
The main reason we are waving good-bye to the butterfly migration is habitat loss - or, more specifically, loss of milkweed, the only plant on which Monarchs lay eggs and which Monarch caterpillars eat. East of the Rocky Mountains, herbicide-resistant crops are largely to blame. West of the Rocky Mountains (a mostly separate migration), urban sprawl has chewed up the milkweed.
This is an issue which needs to be addressed nationally, state-wide, on county and city levels. There are petitions to be signed (please DO sign!) and highway departments to be lobbied (please get involved!). But there is more you can do …
You can help save the Monarch butterfly just by growing milkweed. In your home garden, community garden plot or church courtyard. In your school garden or on a 4H farm. Let's save our Monarch butterflies and, while we are at it, our other native butterflies and pollinators. They are all in trouble due to habitat loss.
My greenhouse is currently home to over 100 milkweed starts. I have two more packets of seeds on the kitchen counter. But my garden is only so big.
|Some of the milkweed starts in my greenhouse|
|The basket of goodies I took to the 4H meeting; egg carton used for starting seeds|
|Milkweed for Monarchs Project|