Monarch butterflies are beautiful insects that make the thousand mile odyssey to their winter homes in Mexico each fall. The population has declined in the last decade due to habitat loss in both their breeding and winter habitats and climate change. Monarchs are an important pollinator, and can be found on a wide range of flowers especially flowers in prairies and other open areas. Their larvae feed on milkweed plant species, which have declined due to changes in agricultural practices, and the adults can be seen on hundreds of wildflower species including many that are found here at Bernheim.
Bernheim has been working to protect and save these beautiful creatures. We’ve created grasslands like the Big Prairie that contains a wide range of flowers including several species of milkweeds that are used by monarch caterpillars. Also Bernheim has reduced the use of insecticides and other harmful chemicals, as well as created Monarch Waystation like the one found in the Edible Garden. There are many things that you can do to protect the monarch, like plant milkweeds and other wildflowers around your house, as well as reduce your use of insecticides. Monarch, like all pollinators, are important for the health of our world and without them an important part of the ecosystem would be lost.