A monarch butterfly perched atop foxtail in Malan Waterfowl Production Area in Michigan. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS.
Healthy pollinators make agricultural operations more resilient and productive. Providing milkweed and other native prairie wildflowers supports monarchs and other native pollinators. The future of pollinators depends on farmers and the future of farming depends on pollinators.
The state of monarch butterflies reflects the health of American grassland habitats and its pollinators.
Monarchs are a flagship prairie species. Prairie habitat is important to pheasants and other animals dependent on grasslands and wildflowers. Pollinator-friendly habitat is filled with diverse nectar sources which support monarchs and native bees. Milkweed and other nectar sources provide monarchs with breeding habitat, resting and refueling stops during migration, and food at the overwintering sites. Habitat that provides insect-rich environments supports upland birds, grassland songbirds, and other prairie wildlife.
People benefit too. Native grasses and prairie flowers have complex root systems that help filter water, reduce runoff, and control erosion. Wildflowers beautify our landscapes. Diverse prairies are great places for recreation ranging from hiking, wildflower identification and bird watching to hunting.
To create healthy habitat for all grassland species we need to increase habitat connectivity, use native pollinator-friendly seed mixes, and plant a range of nectar plants that bloom from early spring to mid fall.