Monarch butterflies are migrating from the mountains in Mexico to Canada during this month.
“The monarch migration is truly one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, however, it is threatened by habitat loss in North America,” said Philip Smith, Rogers County resident and certified monarch watcher.
Smith said with a 60 percent mortality rate, last year’s numbers were the lowest since they have been counted. The reason being two fold.
“Horrendous storms blowing northeast for weeks in previous years, sending (monarchs) to the upper Ohio Valley and the loss of millions of acres of food supply in the form of flowers and milkweed,” he said. “Due to the great demand for ethanol, millions of acres which used to lie fallow have been planted with corn, depriving the butterflies of sustaining food.”
Area residents can help by planting milkweed anywhere in their garden, backyard or flower beds.
“Milkweed plants are the only plants upon which monarchs will place their eggs,” said Smith. “The best variety for Rogers County is the swamp milkweed.”
He said milkweed seeds are available online by simply typing in milkweed.
Smith has created a large-scale waystation, providing resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations during their migration. He has been a registered monarch watcher since 2009.
“I did not see one monarch last year,” he said. “My hope is that others will become interested in helping these miraculous butterflies to guarantee a new generation,”