Why Are Monarch Butterflies Disappearing Here in Mid-Michigan?
Look, I may be absolutely, irrationally terrified of moths but for some reason I have zero issues with butterflies. I love them. They are absolutely beautiful and sadly, they are slowly but surely disappearing.
What Monarchs Do For Us
Monarch butterflies are arguably one of the most easily-recognizable species of butterflies out there.
We have many opportunities to see them gracefully float through the air here in Michigan, whether that is when they migrate or going to places like Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids every year.
According to the Michigan DNR, Monarchs are among the most important pollinators here in the Mitten and around the United States as a whole.
However, they say much like with the decline in bees that has sparked movements like "Save the Bees," Monarch butterfly populations are also declining due to loss of habitat.
Other Reasons for Declining Monarch Populations
WILX News 10 reports this drop has been consistent since the mid-90's and until around 2004, they say researchers believed weed killer on farms were to blame.
Now, WILX cites a study from MSU that might suggest another culprit...one that gets the blame for a lot of negative things happening to our planet and those who inhabit it, climate change.
The declining population trends for Monarchs is not only sad and reducing our chances of getting to see them but with their roles as key pollinators, it can actually have far-reaching negative effects on the environment.
"By protecting the one animal, we are protecting the whole ecosystem," Jamie Elson, a Fenner Nature Center naturalist, told WILX. "We also know if the monarchs are doing and a lot of those other animals are probably doing poorly."
How We Can Help
There are plenty of things we can do to help our pollinators like Monarchs, and Fenner Nature Center here in Lansing works to show us.
One of the main things they told WILX is to simply plant milkweed around your home.
The center practices what they preach and does that on their grounds as well as keeping up a Monarch house every year where they tell WILX they collect and raise caterpillars until they grow into beautiful butterflies!
WILX says you can also help by reporting observations to research websites like eButterly and iNaturalist. The DNR also has a few resources you can report information to like Journey North and Monarch Joint Venture. CLICK HERE for more information from the DNR on how you can help.
Nature sure is beautiful and now it needs our help to protect it!
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