Q: For anyone who likes Monarch Butterflies please read!!!

February 1, 2009 | By Keith | 3 answers | Expired: 2550 days ago

For anyone who likes Monarch Butterflies please read!!!

I know it's out of season now, but there is a cool organization called Monarch Watch. Monarch Watch is an educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas.

It basically helps Monarch's by selling there host plant, Milkweed (what there caterpillars eat). That's the only type of plant they eat and in the U.S. it's usually found in surplus in unmowed fields, by farms, or along roadsides. Trouble is more and more areas the milkweed grow get cut down by people for houses or when they maintain property/land so less and less monarchs are living.

That is where Monarch Watch comes in.

They offcourse sell Milkweed plants/seeds for you to grow in your garden for the caterpillars to eat, and adult butterflies to drink nectar from. They also offer Monarch Waystations to buy, basically a waystation is an "official" habitat for the butterflies. You purchase a sign and set it up, you plant milkweed for them (comes with the kit), meaning if you have permission at a park or school to put one there, it cant be destroyed, so the monarchs at least have some plants to eat and lay eggs on in your area. The more of these set up in the U.S., the more monarchs we will have. A waystation can be set up in your garden too if you have room.

Monarchs travel to Mexico each Fall and overwinter there, and then return to the U.S. the following Spring to lay eggs. But while migrating they need to be strong and well fed, so the more milkweed, the more nectar for them. I think except for Alaska, they are at some point all over the U.S. and some parts of Canada.

Monarch Watch also has tagging kits, you tag the adult butterflies in Fall, and if they are found (dead or alive) the info is sent to University Of Kansas as an indication how the population is doing. Anyone can tag butterflies, all you do is purchase the kit. A lot are even found in Mexico! Pretty cool! I did some tagging years back and it was fun!

They also have rearing kits, so you can raise monarch caterpillars and release them as butterflies, another way to help.

Monarch populations have decreased since the 90's, and I think they are worth helping so check out there site how to help the butterflies.
They also have a Myspace account, so please add them to spread the word! www.myspace.com/monarchwatch
And a Youtube account, there is only 1 video up now, but more should be added soon! youtube.com/monarchwatch

The sad part is in 2008 Monarch Watch spent more on funding than they got back in donations, so they dont know if they can keep running the program by 2010 unless donations (and purchases) increase. That would be very sad since they're a great program and are trying to help our environment. Like I said when I tagged the monarchs and raised a few it was quite fun I back this program up 100%. I hope more of you may try to help the monarchs and Monarch Watch.

Here is a post by them on the funding issues they are currently having in case you want to know more.

Readers' Answers (3)
Sierra  Z.

Feb 04, 2009

This was so informative! I checked out the myspace page, and there was even more great info. I will certainly be hosting some Monarch butterflies when the season is right :)

Thumbs Up: 3 | Thumbs up!


Feb 06, 2009

Thanks for posting this info!!! I have some milkweed growing due to a very special person (not unlike you!) who took the time to pass the info. on to me. Now I am even more interested in helping the MonarchWatch organization. Thank you again & I hope you continue to spread the word!

Thumbs Up: 3 | Thumbs up!

Michele B.

Feb 02, 2009

Thank you for sharing that website. I never realized that their diet was so limited.

Thumbs Up: 3 | Thumbs up!

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