- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's good to see so many scientists and citizen scientists taking an avid interest in monarchs.
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), probably the most recognizable of all the butterflies, is known for its long migratory route from Canada to Mexico.
We spotted a beautiful monarch last Sunday afternoon in Fair Oaks, Calif. as it foraged for nectar from an appropriately named "butterfly bush" (Buddleia davidii).
We watched the monarch glide, drop down, and nectar on the blossoms--a beautiful sight to see. The larval host plant is the milkweed, also a beautiful sight to see--especially when the caterpillars "decorate" the leaves. From an egg to a caterpillar to a chrysalid to an adult, the life cycle should be one of the seven wonders of the world.
Meanwhile, there's a major monarch event taking place Friday, June 6 at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. It's an all-day symposium about monarchs and their conservation, "Make Way for Monarchs: Alliance for Milkweed and Butterfly Recovery." Speakers include Lincoln Brower, Karen Oberhauser, Chip Taylor, Gary Nabhan, and Scott Hoffman Black. An organization called makewayformonarchs.org conducts "research on monarch butterfly recovery and promote positive, science-based actions to avert food web collapse in the milkweed community and the further demise of the monarch migration to Mexico," according to the Chicago Botanic Garden website promoting the Friday event. "They aim to promote social engagement to implement tangible solutions in midwestern landscapes through collaborative conservation."
There's also a MonarchWatch organization dedicated to restoring the Monarch butterfly populations.
More closer to home, Oakland parks supervisor Tora Rocha of the Pollinator Posse is spearheading a drive to rear monarchs. She posts many photos of the caterpillars and adults on the Pollinator Posse Facebook page. Check out the YouTube video featuring her, the monarchs and the Pollinator Posse.
"It's addicting," she says.
Want to help? Listen to the YouTube video and accept her invitation "to come join us."