Did you know the migratory monarch butterfly is threatened with extinction? You CAN do something about it.
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”Proverbs 27:12
A River in the Sky
“Come outside, quick!” my dad called from the front door of our house in North Carolina.
Begrudgingly, I set aside the Bobbsey Twin mystery I had in my hands and stood up. I poked my sister, “Come on, we’d better go outside. He won’t stop calling until we do.”
She blinked. “Did he call us?”
I pulled her to her feet, and we walked outside, despite the urgency in our dad’s voice. Who knew what crazy thing awaited us? A dead cat to dissect? Maybe some animal giving birth. When we passed through the front door, I looked around, seeing nothing out of the ordinary.
“Look up,” Dad exclaimed.
We looked up. A river of orange and black floated through the sky. It seemed to reach for miles from north to south. “What is it?”
“Monarch butterflies,” Dad said. “They must be migrating somewhere.”
Occasionally a solitary drop in the river would float down and alight on a tree or flower. We watched in awe until our necks ached from looking up, and still, the river floated overhead.
Migratory Monarch Butterflt Threatened with Extinction
Forty-five years later, those rivers have turned into tiny streams. In the last 30 years, the monarch butterfly population has fallen by 90%. To understand the rapid decline, one must understand a simple fact. Monarch butterflies will only lay their eggs on milkweed plants. Milkweed plants provide the perfect package of nutrition for the tiny caterpillars to feast on before they form a chrysalis and undergo metamorphosis from worm to butterfly.
As the name implies, most people see the monarch butterfly’s host plant as a weed. No great loss to the world if one kills off milkweeds. But migratory monarch butterflies are threatened with extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added monarchs to its endangered red list. Next year, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will place monarchs under the protection of the Federal Endangered Species Act.
How to Help Save the Monarchs
But you can take steps to be a saver of the threatened migratory monarch butterfly on your own. Plant native milkweed species around your house and in your garden. You can go to this website to help find native plants for your zip code. While you’re at it, plant other pollinator-friendly plants.
Stop using herbicides and pesticides. You can make your own insect deterrent with simple ingredients such as salt, soap, vinegar, and water. You can find a recipe here.
Spread the word about how migratory monarch butterflies are threatened with extinction. We have the power of social media in our pockets. It works, too. A Facebook friend (from a photography group) clued me to the plight of the monarchs with her photos of milkweed, monarch eggs, caterpillars, and butterflies.
Monarch butterflies, like honey bees, play a crucial role in our world. Tiny and defenseless, they rely on a single plant species for the continuation of their species. If everyone does their part, maybe we can save the migratory monarch butterflies from extinction.
Father God, I praise you for the wonder of your creation and each intricate cog in the wheel of your design. Show me ways to do my part to steward the gifts you give us.