855 million fewer monarch butterflies than about 20 years ago - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

855 million fewer monarch butterflies than about 20 years ago

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Fall Creek (WQOW) – According to staff at Beaver Creek Reserve, the Great Lakes monarch butterfly population has been in decline, and that's concerning for a number of reasons.

“Butterflies, beyond pollinating, benefit a lot of things,” said Jim Schwiebert, a naturalist at Beaver Creek Reserve, “They serve as food for so many different kinds of animals and other insects as well so they're a great things to have in the environment besides just being beautiful.”

According to Beaver Creek Reserve, as of last year, the Great Lakes monarch butterfly population, which travels to Mexico, was totaled at 145 million. That's 855 million monarchs less, than about 20 years ago!

“Major reasons for the decline in the Monarch population are primarily loss of habitat, urban sprawl, roadside mowing, use of herbicide tolerant crops which allows farmers to basically spray everything in their field and kill every weed and every other plant that grows there except the crop they're growing,” Schwiebert said.

There are ways that you can help the monarch population: for example, planting a milkweed garden and nectar plant garden, or raising your own wild monarchs. If you'd like to learn more about that, Beaver Creek Reserve is hosting a butterfly festival Sunday August 6 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be half-hour mini-seminars that run throughout the festival and provide information on Wisconsin butterflies, raising your own butterflies, butterfly gardening and other topics.

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