We all know about endangered species. When I was a girl my entire school changed our school mascot to Orangethorp Orca’s to raise awareness of the plight of the whales. We wanted to do our part in taking the label “Killer” off this whale so that the world would see this majestic creature in all its true beauty. I loved my school and all it did to teach us to respect the world and all that live on it… Its impact has lasted through my life.
For those who follow my blog you know my family attended the Earth Day, it was such a great event and had such a good impact on my children. But it did come with a dose of reality… “Hello, Julie the earth and all her beautiful creations could be in trouble.”
Let me explain a wee bit more…
As the girls and I were wandering from booth to booth learning all about solar power, water conservation, organic produce when we came to a table with a butterfly cage full of Monarch butterflies… Oh my heart went pity-pat with excitement! If you haven’t read my blog Courage of a Butterfly it will help you will understand my love for these delicate creatures. Oh I was giddy… Was it a booth on how butterflies help our gardens? The girls were just as excited as me!
Quickly, my heart sank when I learned that the Monarch butterflies are facing the endangered species list…
“How?” I asked “How are they becoming endangered?”
The butterfly lady explained Monarchs are on the watch list because in the caterpillar stage of life they only eat one type of plant, milkweed. Although, there are several varieties of milkweed it is the only food source for my lovely friend the Monarch. She explained how we are destroying the lands where the milkweed grows at an alarming rate. Here are some of statistics she shared with me:
Milkweeds and nectar sources are declining due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides. Because 90% of all milkweed/monarch habitats occur within the agricultural landscape, farm practices have the potential to strongly influence monarch populations.
Development. Development (subdivisions, factories, shopping centers, etc.) in the U.S. is consuming habitats for monarchs and other wildlife at a rate of 6,000 acres per day – that’s 2.2 million acres each year, the area of Delaware and Rhode Island combined!
Genetically Modified Crops. Widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans has resulted in the loss of more than 80 million acres of monarch habitat in recent years. The planting of these crops genetically modified to resist the non-selective systemic herbicide glyphosate (Roundup®) allows growers to spray fields with this herbicide instead of tilling to control weeds. Milkweeds survive tilling but not the repeated use of glyphosate. This habitat loss is significant since these croplands represent more than 30% of the summer breeding area for monarchs.
Roadside Management. The use of herbicides and frequent mowing along roadsides has converted much of this habitat to grasslands – a habitat generally lacking in food and shelter for wildlife. Although some states have started to increase the diversity of plantings along roadsides, including milkweeds, these programs are small.
(Information provided by monarchwatch.org)
Not all was dark news of doom, she then told us how we can do our part to help our dear Monarch by creating a way-station right at home! She gave us all kinds of information on how to build the right kind of environment to help the Monarch. Best of all we are showing love to our beautiful planet and all her creations.
So what fear did I face? I learned that if I stick my head in the sand in hopes others will speak out for the endangered wildlife, well… one day wildlife as we know it may no longer be here. I want my children to have a beautiful planet one full of all kinds of creatures, great and small. So I am taking a stand against this fear and taking steps (even tiny ones help) to help raise awareness about endangered species, we will be creating a way-station for the Monarch butterflies right here at home and looking for other ways to do our part in our community and globally.
Just in North America there are about 400 animal species who are listed as endangered, and about 130 that are threatened. This does not include globally endangered animals or endangered plant species. I hope you will take a stand for endangered species because when we all come together and do our part, great things can happen!
To learn how to create a Monarch Way-Station please visit:
Until next may your day be filled with Butterfly Blessings…