Want to help monarch butterflies? Encourage a local school, faith group, business or institution with gardens or green space to add more milkweed and butterfly-friendly plants.
Here are the seven steps to planting the seeds for growing a butterfly garden in your community:
STEP 1: Take a walk around your neighbourhood. Look for spaces that could use some love — overgrown or empty garden beds or planters; sterile-looking, manicured turf; or corporate grounds with bland ornamental plants.
STEP 2: Drop in and say hello to the people responsible for the space. Introduce yourself as an interested neighbour and ask for the name of the person(s) you should speak to about making their space more colourful and inviting for butterflies — and humans!
Say you were inspired by the David Suzuki Foundation’s efforts to bring back monarch butterflies, because their populations have dropped by 95 per cent in the past two decades, and that there are simple actions we can all do to help, like planting milkweed and wildflowers.
Ask if there are staff or volunteers responsible for environmental or greening projects. Get names addresses/email addresses.
STEP 3: In a letter or email, invite the appropriate person(s) to join the growing international movement to create more food and shelter for monarchs and other pollinators. Here’s a sample letter. Make yours as personal as possible.
STEP 4: Follow up your letter or email in a few days to ensure it got to the right person(s) and to see if there’s interest in your proposal.
STEP 5: If there’s interest (YAY!), send this resource page.
STEP 6: Do what you can to help nudge the process along, including spreading the news to neighbours and friends.
STEP 7: Tell us about your challenges and successes! Comment on Facebook, tweet using the #monarchmanifesto hashtag or email email@example.com.
Often all it takes to get things rolling is a little inspiration, some initiative and periodic, gentle nudges to make fun, green things happen in your neighbourhood.
Together, we can bring monarch butterflies back from the brink.