A Talk on the Wild Side.
About a year ago, we began publicly talking about the sharp decline in monarch butterfly numbers – the eastern population fell from 1 billion 20 years ago to about 56.5 million this year. And just about seven months ago, we were proud to seed the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund with $1.2 million.
The fund quickly grew, thanks to public and private commitments, and today our Director, Dan Ashe, helped announce the first round of grants from the fund.
The money, more than $3 million and matched by more than $6 million in partner contributions, will support the restoration of up to 33,000 acres of habitat in areas vital to monarch recovery. We’re thrilled the fund will support several of our projects in Missouri along the I-35 Monarch Flyway. Interstate 35 runs from Texas to Minnesota, and monarchs follow the same general route.
Of course, monarchs are getting tons of support, and it’s not just from the usual subjects. All over Mexico, the United States and Canada people are joining together to help one of the world’s most well-known insects in the world, captivated by its beauty and its 3,000-mile migration.
Sean's monarch. Photo courtesy of www.seankenney.com
One of the folks celebrating the monarch and its need for native milkweed is Lego sculptor Sean Kenney.
As part of his Nature Connects touring exhibit, Sean created a 250-pound sculpture of a monarch with an 8-foot wingspan on a milkweed flower.
In case, you’re tempted to recreate it at home, you’ll need a lot of Legos. It contains more than 60,000 Lego bricks.
Of the monarch and milkweed, Sean says on his website, “I wanted to show the beauty of their natural relationship by posing them together.”
And if you are still on the fence about why it’s important to conserve monarchs, take a look at this video our Midwest Region shot at the 2015 Minneapolis Monarch Festival/Festival de la Monarca earlier this month and learn why people love monarchs so much.