Young children are often surprised at the way nature works. One example is how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. See the metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly first-hand might not be possible in the future due to a declining population. The population of monarch butterflies has significantly decreased from over one billion in the 1990s to around 35 million as of 2014.
Monarch butterflies have been severely affected by the pesticides used by farming operations and from the changing climate. The main food source of these butterflies is milkweed. This plant has disappeared as new farming practices combined with pesticides has essentially decimated milkweed in nature. One of the areas where monarch butterflies can find milkweed in the wild is in prairies.
The old prairie areas of the United States have been converted into farm lands. This is the area that most people refer to as the “corn belt” and has less than two percent prairie. Many pesticides being sprayed on crops today kill everything but the crop that has been planted. The natural food source that is available to monarch butterflies is then killed off.
Farmers today are using all available land for planting crops. This is due to new methods that allow the farmer to plant crops right up to existing fence rows. Fence rows is typically where milkweed goes that monarch butterflies find for food. The loss of this natural food source means that steps are necessary to ensure the survival of this species of butterfly.
If you have an interest in saving monarch butterflies, then small-scale action is an option. You have the choice to set up a monarch way station. This is essentially a stopping point for butterflies when they are migrating south each year. A way station gives them a place to reproduce. This is a solution that you can set up in your backyard.
Information about a way station for monarch butterflies can be found on modernfarmer.com here…