Get involved as an individual

Even this small boulevard garden provides essential habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Photo by Courtney Celley, USFWS.
Even this small boulevard garden provides essential habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS.

No matter who you are or where you live, you can make a difference and help conserve the monarch butterfly. From a small pot on your front steps to a backyard pollinator garden, there are many ways individuals can provide essential habitat. We provide support to local communities, NGOs and private landowners through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program with technical assistance and funding support for improving pollinator habitats.

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Learn why the monarch butterfly is in trouble and how you can help

Tagged monarch butterfly. Photo by USFWS.
Tagged monarch butterfly. Photo by USFWS.

The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable species in North America and it’s in trouble. Climate change has intensified weather events which may impact monarch populations. Pesticide use can destroy the milkweed monarchs need to survive. Habitat loss and fragmentation has occurred throughout the monarch’s range. You can help!

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How to build a butterfly and pollinator garden in seven steps

Pollinator garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Courtney Celley, USFWS.
Pollinator garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS.

Monarch butterflies and pollinators are in trouble. You can help by planting a pollinator garden! You can plant a garden anywhere - your yard, school, church, business or even in a pot for your front steps.

A simple, native flower garden will attract beautiful butterflies to your yard and help pollinators stay healthy. In addition to nectar from flowers, monarch butterflies need milkweed to survive, so if you notice the leaves on your milkweed have been chomped, don’t worry, it’s a great sign!

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Matching monarchs using citizen science

Tagged monarch butterfly. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS.
Tagged monarch butterfly. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS.

In order to conserve the monarch migration in eastern North America, scientists need a thorough understanding of all aspects of this phenomenal journey. They know that roughly the entire fall migration season is 85 days - based on first roost reports and arrival dates at overwintering sites in Mexico from Journey North. Monarchs fly an average of 22 miles a day, traveling only during daylight. Larger monarchs migrate faster than smaller ones. The number of butterflies arriving in the northern breeding range in the summer can highly predict the eventual size of the migration generation.

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Resources

More than monarchs

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.