male Monarch

Wild Ones has partnered with Monarch Joint Venture to present our Wild for Monarchs Campaign. Stay tuned to this webpage as we continue to develop resources to promote native plant habitat for the Monarchs as well as other butterflies and pollinators.

The Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is the state insect of Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, and West Virginia. Although this magnificent insect is not endangered, many populations face an uncertain future due to habitat loss in their wintering grounds in Mexico and California as well as in summer breeding grounds throughout North America. The recent droughts have placed additional stress on the population so it is up to us to make certain there is sufficient habitat available for them as they make their long flights back and forth.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have officially declared the monarch migration to be an endangered biological phenomenon, and they recognize monarch conservation as the first priority in world butterfly conservation. Monarchs have been given "Near Threatened" status by WWF. Here is a link to the western count from Xerces Society and the Eastern count courtesy of Journey North . The count for the last several years has been below the long-term average.

The important thing to note with the Eastern count is that it does not reflect overwintering mortality. Severe storms can wipe out 70-80% of the monarchs. 2013 promises to be the worst population count ever, WWF Mexico should be releasing the official count soon. People tend to blame Canada for their noxious weed laws, and Mexico for illegal logging, but we in the United States are also responsible for the Monarch decline. They breed in OUR backyards. We all need to be good stewards of the natural world, and that starts in our own yards.

Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on leaves of milkweed plants, therefore preserving and growing these native plants is crucial in protecting the Monarch butterfly. The Wild Ones Monarchs Committee encourages YOU to collect milkweed seeds and plant them in your own backyard and to encourage their planting in your community. Make a start now! Be a good steward of the natural world.

Although Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca) is generally the preferred host plant of Monarchs in the Midwest because its leaves are more tender and less hairy than some other species, they will lay their eggs and feed on Swamp (A. incarnata) and Butterfly (A. tuberosa) as well. All the milkweed species are used as nectar plants. For more information about the Monarch's preferred host and nectaring plants and about establishing native plant butterfly gardens, go to Wild for Monarchs.

See this page for selecting milkweed species in your region.

Monarch life cycle

Wild Ones is pleased to be partnering with the Monarch Watch (MW)Bring Back the Monarchs program (BBTM) which has the primary focus of gathering and propagating seed in an effort to increase the milkweed population throughout the United States. BBTM is concentrating on the 21 most common species. We encourage everyone to help us out with this effort by gathering milkweed seed in authorized locations, cleaning the seed, preparing appropriate labels and sending it into Monarch Watch for future use. Click here for additional details

The Wild for Monarchs committee is developing a tool kit for Chapters to use for their Monarch events in 2013. Click here to view a preliminary list of items that will be in the tool kit. Watch your e-mail for more information. Sample of the available posters are to the right.

Map Poster
Here are some of the documents for your use:

  • Milkweed Collecting Shipping Growing Instructions

  • Milkweed Plant Growing Agreement

  • Milkweed Seed Labels 10 per page

  • Milkweed Seed Label Instructions

  • Milkweed Seed Separator

  • Working with Local Milkweed Plant Growers

  • Ordering Milkweed Plant Plugs from Monarch Watch's Bring Back the Monarchs Program

  • Germinating Butterfly Milkweed

  • Germinating Common and Swamp Milkweed

    Additional Resources

    Partnering with Wild for Monarchs:

    Monarch Joint Venture Monarch Joint Venture
    BBM Monarch Watch's Bring Back the Monarchs

    Other resources through our partnership with Monarch Joint Venture:

    US Forest U.S. Forest Service
    US Fish & Wildlife U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Iowa DNR Iowa Department of Natural Resources
    NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service
    Monarch Fund Monarch Butterfly Fund
    Monarch Classroom Monarchs in the Classroom
    Monarch Watch Monarch Watch
    NABA North American Butterfly Association
    Pollinator Pollinator Partnership
    Xerces The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation