FACTS ABOUT MONARCH BUTTERFLIES
The monarch butterfly may be the most widely recognized of all American butterflies with its distinct orange, black, and white wings.
Found throughout the United States, as well as Mexico and Canada, one of the most notable characteristics about the monarch is the astonishing 3,000 mile journey some will make in the fall to their wintering grounds, either in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Mexico or to southern California. Unfortunately, habitat loss from agriculture and urban development along their way are putting these majestic migrators at risk.
The North American monarch population has plummeted in recent years, from 1 billion in 1996 to 35 million today.
In their larval stage monarch caterpillars feed almost exclusively on milkweed and the nectar of flowers. The monarch will always return to areas rich in milkweed to lay their eggs upon the plant. The milkweed they feed on as a caterpillar is actually a poisonous toxin and is stored in their bodies. This is what makes the monarch butterfly taste so terrible to predators.
MONARCH WAYSTATION HABITATS
Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Without milkweed throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall. Similarly, without nectar from flowers, these fall migratory monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico. The need for host plants for larvae and energy sources for adults applies to all monarch and butterfly populations around the world.
By creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation, we are contributing to monarch conservation, an effort that will help assure the preservation of the species and the continuation of the spectacular monarch migration phenomenon.
The Monarch Waystations at Kemptown Park and Utica Park contain the following plant species: