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Hello lovely kind krafters!!! As you may know, our current cause is Monarch Protection and we are focusing on the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute’s current work in this area. The Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute is a non-profit co-operative that is working hard to protect butterflies through their project the “Butterfly Club”. This club was founded by biologists from MTRI and Parks Canada and over the coming summer, they are hoping to be able to plant 1000 swamp milkweed plants across Nova Scotia. In this blog, I’m going to write about the importance of Monarch conservation and how you can help these beautiful butterflies in the smallest of ways!
Monarch butterflies are known scientifically as Danaus plexippus and are perhaps the most common butterfly in North America. Its wings are easily recognizable with a bright orange, black and white pattern covering them. They are classed as milkweed butterflies as they lay their eggs on milkweed plants for their larvae to feed from. Monarchs can lay hundreds of eggs which is a hopeful sign to many researches as they believe that with enough time spent on conservation, their populations will begin to increase and reach non-critical levels.
Between August and Mid-October, Monarchs begin their multi-generational journey south over the span of several months. These butterflies head towards the high mountains of central Mexico for the winter months and then will begin migrating back north in March and arrive around July. At least four generations are involved in the annual cycle as most Monarch butterflies live only for a few weeks. During these migrations, Monarchs depend on nectar from wildflowers for their energy and fat, and milkweeds to lay their eggs on.
What’s the problem?
As of 2014, researchers found that over the past twenty years, the number of Monarchs in North America had dropped to less than 10% of what they once were. There are several reasons as to why this might be, but it is believed that the main one is loss of habitat. Due to the rise in development and agriculture, many of the Monarchs homes have been damaged or ruined. Predators also play a factor in the depletion as larger animals, as well as other insects, will ingest the larvae as it feeds on the milkweed plants. Another issue for these butterflies is that many milkweed plants are being sprayed with herbicides which kill the larvae as they try to thrive whilst creating a huge loss of breeding grounds for them.
Female Monarch (left) and Male Monarch (right)
So, what can we do?
Many people are interested in Monarch Protection just like kind krafts and there are simple ways for all of us to help them flourish! Here are a few ideas:
I have also found some great articles and videos to help you with even more ways to help the butterflies. These actions may seem small, but as Nicole Hamilton said in the following video,
“I might just plant my one Monarch waystation, which is just a raindrop, but then if my neighbour sees it, and then another neighbour sees it, and then we start to grow them, then it becomes something significant”.
http://www.merseytobeatic.ca/butterfly-club.php (more links on this page!!)
https://www.almanac.com/blog/gardening/garden-journal/monarch-butterflies-chrysalis-watch (awesome related articles!)
Thank you for reading everyone! Have fun planting in the sunshine and seeing these wonderful butterflies in your garden!
“We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.”