The story of the monarch butterfly is one of incredible transformation and epic travel. We are also part of this adventure, and each of us can play a key role in the survival of the monarch. Believe it or not, it can be as simple as planting a milkweed seed.
Individual Monarch Life Cycle
To understand how important such a small step can be, we must begin where the monarch begins: with a tiny egg, no bigger than the head of a pin.
The female monarch can carry up to 400 of these precious eggs. She will lay only one or two on a single milkweed leaf, repeating the process over and over again on different leaves.
The monarch butterfly flies the farthest of any insect on Earth. Monarchs migrate between 2,000 and 3,000 miles on their trip from the United States and Canada to their winter homes in the forests of Mexico.
Monarchs face many dangers on their trip south. And they still face obstacles even after reaching their destination. Overnight temperatures can drop below freezing and snow may even fall during their stay in Mexico. Fortunately, since monarchs are a cold-blooded insect, they don’t require much energy in cold temperatures, and they will eat very little in order to save their food reserves.
Make Your Own Waystation
A simple way to help the monarchs on their journey is by planting native milkweed, nectar plants, and by avoiding the use of pesticides and herbicides in your own home garden.
Check out the sponsored links below for local resources.
Scientists have been busy with this effort to learn more, and researchers are currently tracking monarchs to analyze their behavior. They do this by attaching small tags on their wings with a tag number that can be entered into a website. You, too can participate in a number of citizen scientist opportunities.
The eastern monarch butterfly population has declined over 80%. Data collected by community scientists, like yourself, helps Field Museum researchers understand how successful urban milkweed plants are at providing habitat for monarch caterpillars.
Your donation supports a butterfly sanctuary and helps nearby communities.With your donation, once a month, JM’s Butterfly B&B in Mexico provides a condensed virtual butterfly tour to give you a sense of what it’s like to visit Cerro Pelón at different times of the season.
In order to conserve the monarch migration, scientists need a thorough understanding of all aspects of this phenomenal journey. You are invited to help us learn more about monarchs through participating in citizen science programs.
Forests for Monarchs has planted over 9 million trees through supporters like you. They plant two trees for every dollar donated. Please consider donating to help produce, distribute and plant native trees within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.
Walk for monarchs to raise money through Miles for Monarchs. We will attempt, as a community throughout the United States and Canada, to walk, run, hike, bike, and move at least 3,000 miles – the length of a single migration