Monarch Butterflies Part II - Give Monarchs the Royal Treatment
08 Sep 2016
Monarch Butterflies are considered a Species at Risk at both the provincial and federal levels. Although it is encouraging to see that our governments are raising concern over the decline in of Monarch populations, their designation of ‘Special Concern’ does not provide species or habitat protection.
With the largest threat to Ontario Monarchs being habitat loss and fragmentation at overwintering sites in central Mexico, it is becoming more and more important to become involved with the ‘citizen scientist’ and stewardship movements here at home. The following are some ways in which you can give Monarchs the royal treat:
Report a Sighting
- Journey North is an online project that tracks the migration of Monarchs; classrooms can participate by sharing their sightings at: www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch
- Include your sighting on local nature boards
- Simcoe Nature Board - http://www.boards2go.com/boards/board.cgi?user=SimcoeNatureBoard
Be a Good Steward
- Private land owner practices have the potential to strongly influence monarch populations. Avoid the use of pesticide and use native varieties of plants.
- Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
- Plant a butterfly/pollinator garden:
- A National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife - https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2010/Native-Plants-for-Pollinators.aspx
- A resources from the North American Native Plant Society - http://www.nanps.org/pdfs/butterfact.pdf
- Seed kit available from Monarch Watch - http://monarchwatch.org/waystations/seed_kit.html
- Monarch Teacher Network: Creating Monarch Friendly Habitat workshop - http://monarchteacher.ca/workshops/creating-monarch-habitat.dot
- Monarch Join Venture has many resources from gardening to how to mow your lawn - http://monarchjointventure.org/resources/downloads-and-links
Tagging Monarchs is one way in which we can better understand Monarch migration and populations. The data from recaptured Monarchs (Monarch who have been found dead along their migration route) are used to determine the pathways taken by migrating monarchs, the influence of weather on the migration, the survival rate of the monarchs, etc. All of the data is analyzed to test hypotheses concerning Monarch orientation and navigation. For more detailed information on how to order tags, as well as how one goes about tagging check out Monarch Watch link http://monarchwatch.org/tagmig/tag.htm