The links below contain information on what you can do to help monarchs in our community.
How You Can Help Monarchs
1. Plant milkweed.
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed, and monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed. The best thing you can do to help monarchs is to plant milkweed in your yard or garden. There are several species of milkweed native to Iowa. Milkweed seeds are available at the Pella Public Library.
2. Plant nectar flowers.
Monarchs feed on a variety of annual and perennial flowers. See the list of Monarch nectar flowers. (PDF) You can help not only monarchs, but other butterflies and pollinators as well, by planting nectar-rich flowers.
3. Reduce or eliminate pesticide use.
Butterflies are insects, so insecticides will kill them. Use pesticides with care in your yard and garden, or make a commitment to garden without pesticides.
4. Get involved.
There are numerous organizations devoted to monarch preservation and habitat restoration.
- Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium is a community-led organization whose mission is to enhance monarch butterfly reproduction and survival in Iowa through collaborative and coordinated efforts of farmers, private citizens and their organizations. See their 5 Ways to Help Monarchs for landowners.
- Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. See their Citizen Science Opportunities.
- Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project is a citizen science project involving volunteers from across the United States and Canada in monarch research. They have excellent training videos.
- Monarch Watch a cooperative network of students, teachers, volunteers and researchers dedicated to the study of the Monarch butterfly. Their website includes information on how to become a Monarch Waystation and ordering tags.
- The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City has annual seed collecting and butterfly tagging events.
- The Plant Grow Fly program from Blank Park Zoo includes advice for creating a butterfly garden.
Milkweed and Nectar Plants
National Wildlife Federation Monarch Butterfly
Farm Bill programs and other ways agricultural producers can help butterflies and pollinators.
US Fish and Wildlife Save the Monarch Butterfly