Newsroom Midwest Region

Attracting people just like pollinators

January 30, 2018

Colorful monarch butterfly bicycles and pollinator helmets were used for photos and rides on the lake. Photo by Melissa A. Clark/USFWS.
Colorful monarch butterfly bicycles and pollinator helmets were used for photos and rides on the lake. Photo by Melissa A. Clark/USFWS.

Designed in the shape of a colorful giant flower, against the stark white frozen Minnesota shoreline, the Monarch Butterfly Migration Shanty is attracting people just like pollinators are drawn to nectar. 

“Monarchs are overwintering in Mexico, but we’re still spreading their amazing story up north,” says Suzanne Trapp, Midwest Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Monarch Butterfly Migration Shanty is an interactive art experience that uses a modified ice fishing house, which is part of the 2018 Art Shanty Village on Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program is teaming with local artists and Minneapolis Public Schools to offer the community this unique art and conservation exhibit.

“Art is an entry point to connect with our communities. This project will provide the local communities and visitors to Minnesota an outdoor experience and learn how they can help monarchs,” says Trapp. 

Once on the ice, you cannot miss the monarch bicycle “puppets” you are invited to ride or the opportunity to take a selfie and celebrate monarchs. Entering the shanty, you are transported to the Mexican State of Michoacán where monarchs overwinter. Oyamel fir tree forest sculptures rise up the circular walls, covered with paper monarchs clipped to the branches. You can “tag” a paper monarch with your city and state to represent your migration to the shanty, like the monarch’s migration to Mexico. 

Why ensure a future filled with monarchs? They're in trouble and so are other pollinators. Pollinator numbers have dropped for decades, with some kinds of bumble bees completely disappearing from entire states. The culprits: less places to feed and breed, disease and pesticides.

The frozen Lake Harriet is the backdrop to over 20 structures and interactive exhibits representing more than 100 artists. The Art Shanty Village is happening every weekend from January 20 - February 11.

A young visitor holds up her tagged paper monarch butterfly.  Photo by Melissa A. Clark/USFWS.
A young visitor holds up her tagged paper monarch butterfly. Photo by Melissa A. Clark/USFWS.