Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Fish and Wildlife Service Partners with Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail to Save the Monarch Butterfly

June 15, 2015

Contact:

Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220
Website: https://www.fws.gov/external-affairs/public-affairs/


A monarch butterfly on a purple plant with bright colors in the background.

A Monarch butterfly on lavender. Credit: Christine Lisiewski.
Higher Quality Version of Image

PLAINS, Georgia – The Monarch butterfly got a boost today.

As part of a broad, national effort to conserve habitat for the declining Monarch butterfly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is joining forces with former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter and investing $130,000 to expand the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail.

The Service’s Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner announced the partnership to restore important habitat for the butterfly at a monarch conservation workshop attended by educators from around Georgia. 

The Service’s investment in the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail will add 100 sites along the monarch’s migration routes, and the pollinator gardens resulting from this partnership will assure new monarch habitat in schools, parks, and urban centers throughout the Southeast. 

While monarchs are found across the United States — as recently as 1996 numbering some 1 billion — their numbers have declined by about 90 percent in recent years, a result of numerous threats, particularly the loss of habitat and mortality resulting from pesticide use.  Native milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s sole food source, has been eradicated or severely degraded in many areas across the United States in recent years.  The accelerated conversion of the continent’s native short and tallgrass prairie habitat to crop production has also had an adverse impact on the monarch.

“We can help the monarch butterfly if we act quickly and together,” Dohner said.  “That’s why I’m excited to work with President and Mrs. Carter to expand the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail.  Together we will create oases for monarchs in communities across the Southeast and build on efforts occurring across the country.”

The investment in the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail is part of the Service’s cooperative effort to build a network of diverse conservation partners and stakeholders to protect and restore important monarch habitat, while also reaching out to Americans of all ages who can play a central role.  In addition to creating pollinator gardens, the Service and the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail are working together and with other conservation partners in Georgia to conduct teacher workshops that will help to bring monarch conservation to both classrooms and school yards.  

The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, established in April 2013, raises awareness of the monarch’s plight and encourages the conservation of butterflies and their habitats.  Most of the trail’s 112 sites are located in Georgia.  Additional sites are found throughout the United States as well as in Canada and Japan.  Public and private butterfly gardens may join the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail by visiting www.jimmycarter.info/CarterButterflyTrail.htm.   

The monarch is perhaps the best-known butterfly species in the United States.  Every year it undertakes one of the world’s most remarkable migrations, traveling thousands of miles from Mexico, across the United States, to Canada.

Spectacular as it is, protecting the monarch is not just about saving one species.  The monarch serves as an indicator of the health of pollinators and the American landscape.  Monarch declines are symptomatic of environmental problems that pose risks to our food supply, the spectacular natural places that help define our national identity, and our own health.  Conserving and connecting habitat for monarchs will benefit other plants, animals and important insect and avian pollinators.

For more information about the Service’s efforts to save the monarch butterfly, please visit www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/southeast.  Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.