February 5th is Western Monarch Day!
This is a day to celebrate the annual migration of the Western Monarch Butterflies back to the west coast for the winter months.
Due to recent population declines, a successful migration is certainly something to celebrate! Within the past 10 years, the population of the monarch has declined up to 74-90% in some areas.
Monarch butterflies give many benefits to the environment and balance local ecosystems. They provide vital pollination and are a source of food for birds and other small predators. Not to mention they are strikingly beautiful! These stunning butterflies contribute to the local economies during the migration by attracting tourists from around the country.
When monarch butterflies reproduce, the milkweed is the only plant from which the caterpillars will eat and survive. The disappearance of these plants is part of the main reason we are seeing less and less of the monarchs.
This Western Monarch Day, why not celebrate by helping out our colorful friends?
You can grow your own milkweed right in your backyard to create a butterfly garden.
After germinating your milkweed seeds or buying already potted seedlings, transplant the milkweeds to the outdoors in an open and sunny area. When you first plant milkweeds they may lose their leaves while adjusting to the outdoors and while taking root. This plant thrives best in early spring after the frost has passed. Once your milkweed is planted, it only needs water for the first couple of days. If it is really dry, you may need to give them a little drink, but the milkweed does not require much care after it is in the ground. Here are some more tips on nourishing a successful butterfly garden.
The monarch butterflies are currently on their way to the west coast and will potentially travel thousands of miles. If you are on the west coast, keep your eyes open for these little marvels! Happy Western Monarch Day!