#WATWB: Rescuing the Monarch Butterfly

Super Monarch

What’s small, has orange wings with black veins and flies to Mexico for the winter? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s a Monarch Butterfly.


From Madison Audubon Society:

“Monarch butterflies are important pollinators in Wisconsin. Population levels have declined in the U.S. by 90% over the last 20 years. The U.S. Dept. of the Interior is considering placing the monarch butterfly on the Endangered Species List, and the Wisconsin DNR is actively encouraging efforts to preserve this species. Milkweed plays a critical role in the habitat needs of the monarch, and it is believed that much of the population decline is due to the disappearance of this plant.”

Helping Habitat in Wisconsin

Posted on the WI Dept. of Corrections website:

“St. Croix Correctional Center in Wisconsin is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  and the Department of Natural Resources to improve butterfly habitat in the St. Croix Valley. In recent years, the nesting sites for Monarch Butterflies in the U.S. have been dramatically reduced.  Monarch Butterfly populations declined to the lowest recorded level in 2013 – 2014, and there is imminent risk of failed migration. 

Several State and Federal agencies have become involved in projects to increase the number and size of nesting sites. Improving the nesting areas for Monarch Butterflies also improves the area for other pollinators which includes butterflies, bees, some birds, bats, and other insects.

SCCC is using five acres of land on the center’s property to help in these efforts. Staff provided funds and time to build a greenhouse and provide project supplies. Additionally, SCCC donated approximately 1,500 ‘plugs’, or small plants, to the USFWS for distribution to grant partners and the local community.”

Additional efforts have been made throughout the State (including the Fox Cities) to encourage the planting of milkweed.

Did You Know?

Wisconsin is home to at least 10 native milkweed species, all of which support caterpillars of monarch butterflies by providing the one and only plant material the monarch caterpillars will eat.

Saving, Protecting

From the USFWS website:

“We are excited to be a part of leading the charge in protecting monarch butterflies across the American landscape. Saving the monarch butterfly will not happen without working together, creating collaborative opportunities. We are engaging with more than 50 partners throughout North America to enhance our conservation efforts to provide a future filled with monarchs.

Since 1995, the Wildlife Without Borders – Mexico Program has made a continuing commitment to support the conservation of monarch butterflies throughout the migration and overwintering sites.

Learn more about partnerships through Monarch Joint Venture.”

Get Involved

If you’re interested in helping the Monarch’s habitat, check out Monarch Watch or research local organizations in your area.

watw-turquoise-badge-275-x241-whiteThe “We are the World” Blogfest is in its fifth month of a year-long journey. This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts, Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Damyanti Biswas and Sylvia Steinwelcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time between now and February of 2018.

Please SIGN UP for WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST in the linky list that opens up in a new window:

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55 responses to #WATWB: Rescuing the Monarch Butterfly

  1. Lynn says:

    Another piece of information that I did not know. Thanks for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome! I’ve known about the decline of Monarchs for a while, Lynn, but it wasn’t on my mind until I saw the article about St. Croix and USFWS. It was an easy choice to feature the habitat restoration efforts this month.

  2. Dan Antion says:

    They are so beautiful. It’s nice to see a concerted effort being made to help them. We have some milkweed but we haven’t seen Monarch yet this year.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I haven’t see Monarch either, although the milkweed is plentiful on the trails. Over by the tech school, there’s a very large area with plants enticing laying of eggs. I am always looking for caterpillars this time of year because it gives hope for a growing population.

  3. Kathryne says:

    Enjoyed this post because I’m part of the solution, Mary. I started raising monarchs this year, now on my 4th batch. Currently have 16 chrysalises incubating! Truly a thrill to set a monarch free. Hope you post encourages a new hobbyist. 🦋

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That’s wonderful, Kathryne. You are doing a wonderful thing with raising monarchs. If I had a house and a yard, you can bet there would be milkweed planted. How do you start raising Monarchs? I’m curious.

  4. Claudia says:

    We have let the front fields in front of my house go wild, and it’s wonderful to see the milkweed bloom on its own. I see other butterflies too, but I get excited when I see a monarch.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Excellent! The butterflies and Monarchs will love your wild fields and milkweed. Thanks for looking out for a beautiful critter of nature that deserves to multiply and prosper.

  5. It is so good to see that there are people who are making efforts to preserve the wildlife. I pray that more people understand the value of Mother Nature and all her gifts to us and learn to appreciate and care for it. I once read this line on a wall – Only when the last tree is cut that we will realize that we cannot eat money. Thanks to you for sharing this with us.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That’s a very true quote about the last tree, Sharukh. People focus so much on money and possessions that they don’t enjoy the outdoors, nature, and all of the wonderful critters. I love being in the middle of nature, watching the bunnies run and hop and the butterflies make their way from flower to flower. It fills the senses more than anything else I can think of.

  6. Monarchs are gorgeous, and vital links in the natural chain– so happy to see people are now waking up and making efforts for their conservation.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      My roommate used to live near a field of milkweed many years ago, where she and her daughter would go every summer and fall to see the caterpillars, cocoons and emerging Monarchs. She said it was a great teaching even for her daughter. Sadly, the milkweed field went away in favor of progress, not knowing how this affected nature. I’m glad that there is a movement to restore habitat so that this beauty can recover and once again be plentiful.

  7. Peter Nena says:

    Such efforts should be the focus of all of us. So many species face extinction. I’m so happy to know there are people dedicated to saving them. Thank you Mary.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It would be great if every North American gardener would plant milkweed somewhere in their yard or if communities would create butterfly gardens. Every little bit would help.

  8. We didn’t see one Monarch all last summer, so to have spotted a half-dozen this year is a cause for celebration.
    I follow a field naturalist group and judging by the posts, there has been an uptick in populations this year, so that’s encouraging.
    Milkweed blossoms have an intoxicating perfume, similar to carnations. I stopped by a colony the other day to see if I could find a monarch caterpillar or chrysalis – I had to be satisfied with a snootful of scent, only.
    Thanks for shedding more light on the issue!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That’s a good sign, Maggie, to have seen six Monarchs. As many milkweed plants as there are on the trails around here, I don’t often see a chrysalis or Monarch. I’m hoping it’s only because the Monarchs are laying their eggs on plants that are not easy to get to by humans. I’ll be heading out on one of those trails today, so perhaps I’ll get either a good whiff or see the promise of a Monarch.

  9. Susan Scott says:

    Lovely post Mary thank you! Reading the comments is also a delight! I get excited when I see butterflies and bees and it’s true we need to be more aware of the possibility of unnecessary extinction. The efforts of people to keep the numbers up is wonderful!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Susan. Yes, we need to keep up the numbers of the Monarch. Why would anyone want to let this beautiful creature fall to extinction?

  10. What an important and encouraging story. I’ve certainly noticed the increasing decline in Monarchs and it’s heartbreaking. Being in a neighboring state to Wisconsin, it inspires me to know they’ve committed to increase and improve habitat. And I’ll definitely be planting milkweed next year.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Good for you, Deborah! Plant a few milkweeds for me too! If the general population knew of the Monarch’s plight, there might be a few more gardeners adding milkweed to the landscape.

  11. joey says:

    Yes. All this. I had no idea Wisconsin is such a critical stop for them, with five types of milkweed! I have some native milkweed in the bed with my berries, and then I sent a dollar or whatever to the Save the Monarch people and they sent me seeds to plant, so I put those in behind the garage. Only about half of them took, but I do get Monarchs in both places 🙂 I’d have more milkweed, but the bastard city made us mow the back 40…
    Also, have you read Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver?

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I have not read Flight Behavior, but will have to check it out. There is a patch of grass, trees and some field across the parking lot from my apartment building. I wonder if milkweed seeds would grow over there without being mowed or pulled. Hmmm…may have to look into that next spring.

      The city needs to get a life and plant some milkweed. Really, people!

      • joey says:

        Truly. I find it rather pretty shooting up from behind borders 🙂

  12. I love Monarchs, actually all butterflies, bees, and Dragonflies. Sadly I have noticed they are definitely on the decline, I’m so happy that initiatives to preserve them are being put in place. Thanks so much for sharing this! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I love all butterflies too and dragonflies. One of our counties, Door County, is home to an endangered dragonfly, the Hines Emerald. I was fortunate enough to see one on a hike a couple of years ago. They are beautiful little beings that deserve a life, much like the Monarch.

      • Wow, that would have been something to see. I love dragonflies so much I got one tattooed on me. We live right in the city but up until a few years ago I would see them regularly. The past few years there has been such a decline in both butterflies and dragonflies in our area it’s heartbreaking.

  13. That’s a heartwarming story of an effort which sends the message that the earth doesn’t belong just to us humans. I feel its our duty, as the more superior species,to protect the other living organisms and share this planet responsibily with them. It gladden me that people are taking the cause of helping out animals more and more. Great post!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Pradita. Yes, you are right…it is our duty to protect the planet and all of its inhabitants. Some people don’t see it that way, but I’m glad that most are willing to be responsible and help.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Let’s hope that the Monarchs make a serious comeback in both WI and MN and elsewhere in the country. It would seriously be a shame if they were lost to extinction.

  14. Great to know that people are working to turn the tide in favor of the Monarchs. These butterflies come to California every year. Just saw one in my backyard yesterday. 🙂 We have some sanctuaries around our state. So amazing that they make these long migrations.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m amazed at the migration, the number of miles they travel to get to a warmer climate. I’m glad they make it to CA and you get to enjoy them in your yard.

  15. ericlahti says:

    We’ve got a butterfly pavilion here in Albuquerque at the botanical gardens. It’s amazing stuff seeing all those butterflies in one place. The fact that those little guys can migrate as far as they do is mind-blowing.

  16. hilarymb says:

    Hi Mary – I do know about the Monarch … we have butterflies here that come all the way up from the Sahara … the same thing happens in Australia – this incredible explosion of butterflies – just wonderful. I did see a valley full of butterflies in Rhodes – I guess they travel too … nature is quite extraordinary. Wonderful to read about – and that they are being encouraged to keep on coming back … cheers Hilary

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Hilary, that is good news to know that the Monarch and butterflies in general are thriving in other parts of the world. I would love to see an explosion of butterflies out in the fields, fliting around among the grass and flowers. What joy that must bring!

  17. daisymae2017 says:

    Interesting post. I’ve heard after the Butterfly becomes an adult they usually don’t live more than 5 days. Is that true? What’s a Butterflies lifespan?

    • bikerchick57 says:

      From a Google search: “During the summer breeding season, monarchs live for only 2-6 weeks. But the monarchs that migrate to Mexico in the fall are different: They are born in late summer, stay alive all winter, and migrate north the following spring.”

      I imagine when the Mexico Monarchs come north, they lay their eggs and then die.

  18. Ally Bean says:

    I love Monarch butterflies and have been part of the Milkweed for Monarchs project for years. We plant milkweed in our garden, and have been rewarded with more and more Monarchs each year. You’re fortunate to have 10 varieties from which to choose. We have 3 viable variities here. Cool post for the #WATWB.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome, Simon. Yes, stop to smell the roses and watch the lovely creatures that nature provides.

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