Keith Posted February 1, 2009 Share Posted February 1, 2009 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. http://monarchwatch.org/ Monarch Watch also have a Myspace account, so please add them to spread the word about monarch butterflies and to show some support. http://www.myspace.com/monarchwatch And a Youtube account, there is only 1 video up now, but more should be added this spring/summer. http://youtube.com/monarchwatch Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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