Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Epic Monarch Butterfly Migration: Doing Your Part

Monarch butterfly - Danaus plexippus

One of the world’s longest animal migrations goes through our own backyards. You can be part of it!

Millions of monarch butterflies take flight annually, traveling over 3,000 miles across North America. The round-trip spans Canada to Mexico.

As common as they seem, monarchs have many secrets that intrigue scientists. It's known that they overwinter as far south as Mexico, but do smaller populations overwinter elsewhere? If so, why? Are populations declining? If so, why? This is where you can help.
Scientists can not monitor everywhere at once, but you can be their eyes and ears on the ground. Your involvement is needed. You might ask yourself, "Self, what can I do?"
You can provide food. Adult monarchs love flower nectar. Almost any nectar will do, so plant a wide variety of species. Native or naturalized species are best.
Caterpillars eat foliage, but only certain species of milkweed leaves. To satisfy them and yourself, you must select species that are native to or otherwise thrive in your area. My state - Georgia - publishes a helpful brochure for download. Your state might, too.
State Departments of Natural Resources occasionally hold training sessions for citizens to learn how to monitor monarchs. Become involved! Click on a helpful link below. States not listed below apparently do not have web sites for their DNRs, or at least I couldn't find them.

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Arizona Game and Fish Department
Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality
California Department of Fish and Game
Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Washington State Department of Natural Resources
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Butterfly Houses at
Butterfly Feeders at
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation 

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