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Wondering How to Help Monarch Butterflies? Here are 5 Things You Can Do!

how to help monarch butterflies

In two decades, the overall population of monarch butterflies has declined by 85%. The species is less than half the size it should be to avoid population collapse, which has left many wondering how to help monarch butterflies urgently. Fortunately, there are a variety of things we can all do to help protect monarch butterflies, including partnering with ECOLIFE Conservation to support our mission.   

1. Plant a Butterfly Garden

You’re probably aware that milkweed plants are crucial for the monarch butterfly, but there are other plants that they need to survive as well. The perfect garden for butterflies and other pollinators includes native flowering plants in addition to milkweed.

Milkweed is the only plant that butterfly caterpillars feed on, making them the only host plant for monarch eggs. However, adult butterflies need nectar from plants like native wildflowers to keep up their energy for the summer breeding season and throughout their long migration. Although monarchs do their best to conserve their energy by making the most of favorable winds, there are times when they’ll need to use their fat reserves and they’ll have to replenish these reserves with nectar from flowering plants.

The more butterfly gardens that are planted, the more resting points these migrating monarchs will have to replenish their fat reserves.

2. Avoid Pesticides and Unnatural Fertilizers

Pesticides and unnatural fertilizers may be popular for maintaining gardens, but they harm pollinator habitats. To help monarch butterflies, avoid using unnatural fertilizers and pesticides in your yard.

If you add milkweed and native plants to your garden, you won’t have to worry about protecting them with pesticides or providing them with fertilizer. These plants are naturally resilient and don’t require much maintenance.

There are other ways to reduce your use of pesticides as well. Spacing your plants out properly according to their mature size will make it more difficult for pests to spread throughout your garden. It’s also important to inspect plants for pests before you introduce them to your garden. If pests do end up in your garden, simply washing them away with water can help get rid of them, or you can try to find alternatives like dabbing insects away with rubbing alcohol, trapping slugs for release somewhere else, and more. 

Buying organic fruits and vegetables, or growing your own without pesticides, will also help protect monarchs by reducing your contribution to agricultural habitat disturbance. Getting produce from your local farmer’s market will introduce you to local farmers and ensure that you know where your food is coming from. You can also volunteer at our Aquaponics Innovation Center and take home your own freshly-harvested, sustainable produce!

Delivery services like Farm Fresh to You provide a season’s best mix of 100% certified-organic produce and hand-crafted farm products conveniently delivered right to your home or office.  while earning 10% for ECOLIFE Conservation. They’ve partnered with us to connect communities and sustainable farms while earning 10% for our conservation efforts.

3. Support Habitat Restoration and Protection

Habitat loss is the main cause of the decline in the monarch butterfly population. This is why we developed our Aquaponics Program as well as the Patsari Stove Project.

Aquaponics allows people and communities to grow safer, healthier produce without chemicals and pesticides using 90% less space than conventional agriculture. This closed-looped system of food production both preserves natural pollinator habitats and prevents harmful chemicals from decreasing local pollinator populations. Through the widespread adoption of sustainable agricultural methods like aquaponics, we have the opportunity to feed more people, prevent pollution, and reduce land and water use.

The Patsari stove is our culturally appropriate solution to protecting the habitat in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR). This stove uses 60% less firewood than open-fire cooking. Less firewood preserves more of the MBBR’s trees, protecting the habitat that monarchs need to survive the winter. Patsari stoves also make cooking safer and more efficient.

4. Spread the Word!

When most people think of pollinators, they don’t realize that butterflies are just as important as bees. Along with moths, beetles, flies, and some bird species, butterflies are natural pollinators. Most people don’t know just how crucial they are to our ecosystems. 

All of these natural pollinators contribute to the growth of more than $20 billion of produce each year. If we lose any of our natural pollinators, our food systems will undoubtedly be affected. By telling others about the importance of monarch butterflies, you can help them take up the cause of protecting monarchs!

5. Work With ECOLIFE Conservation

ECOLIFE Conservation’s mission is to protect wildlife, natural resources, and the people who depend on them. Our goal is to help humans and nature prosper together. 

Our planet is home to eight billion people who need natural resources just as much as monarch butterflies do. This is why we’ve redefined the concept of conservation to include human communities. We believe that it is possible for people and nature to prosper together, but we also need to work together to make it happen.

From our fuel-efficient stoves to our M.A.R.K. systems, every move we make benefits both imperiled wildlife and underserved communities. If you’d like to join us on this journey, we welcome you to become an ECO-ally by committing to a monthly donation!

In addition to knowing that you’re supporting global ECOLIFE programs to help underserved communities and protect ecosystems and wildlife, ECO-allies enjoy a variety of perks including access to members-only events, discounts from ECOLIFE partners (local eateries, chocolatiers, and more), free admission to a lecture from founder Bill Toone, and more. 

Many businesses and organizations support us through corporate partnerships as well. It provides these businesses with the opportunity to improve their brand awareness and reputation by showing potential customers that their organization is socially responsible and what practical steps they’re taking. 

Studies show that people support businesses that give and have Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) initiatives. Partnering with ECOLIFE Conservation allows organizations to tap into new markets, increase sales, and enhance relationships with consumers.

Best of all, you’ll be helping us save ecosystems and save lives! We encourage you to join us in our mission. Your support allows us to build fuel-efficient safe stoves, continue our aquaponics program, and protect vital ecosystems and the monarch butterflies. Please consider a gift to ECOLIFE today!