Have you ever looked out into your backyard and noticed a monarch butterfly quietly alighting on a flower? I’m sure you found it not only beautiful and peaceful, but also rewarding to watch as this striking creature benefited from your garden.
But unfortunately, monarchs are experiencing one of their worst years on record. And if they don’t receive help from friends like you, it may take years for their numbers to recover.
Due to extreme weather in their winter habitat, as many as half the monarch population died this year. If that wasn’t enough, these butterflies are also facing a triple threat of habitat loss, climate change and non-native plant species overrunning milkweed — the only “host plant “eaten by their caterpillars.
There is good news! When you turn your yard into an official Certified Wildlife Habitat™ site, you’ll be helping to ensure these beautiful butterflies — and so many other wildlife — always have a place to eat, drink and rest. Plus, you’ll receive many tangible benefits as well! (see right) Getting started is easy, and we’ll show you how!
Here are a few simple ideas to help attract all kinds of butterflies (as well as birds and other wildlife too!):
Plant native, colorful flowering plants to provide nectar
Provide a shallow water dish as a place to get a drink
Include milkweed host plants to serve as larval, or caterpillar, food
Offer dense shrubs to provide shelter
It’s a great feeling to know wildlife are benefiting from your garden and your generosity. You can be part of the solution to help monarchs recover, and create a striking garden at the same time. Certify today!
NWF Naturalist, Media Spokesperson, Author