Photo: Jay Mather.

Land Trust starts monarch butterfly conservation program

Apr 26, 2019 by Jana Hemphill
The Land Trust has begun a monarch butterfly conservation program.

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In January, our Stewardship Director Amanda Egertson gave a Nature Night presentation on monarch conservation to a packed Tower Theater. The presentation was a rousing success and helped remind us how much our communities care about these iconic butterflies.

Amanda's presentation was the culmination of a year-long effort on her part to see how the Land Trust can help monarch butterflies thrive. Amanda, a long-time butterfly devotee, has been tracking the Western monarch butterfly populations for years. In the last two years, the number of Western monarch butterflies has reached record lows. Amanda thought it was time help these fragile beauties survive, and encouraged the Land Trust to get involved.

The Land Trust's new Monarch Butterfly Conservation Program is one way for us to collaborate with local and regional partners to protect and restore essential habitat for the Western monarch. Monarchs have lost much of the habitat they need to breed, migrate, and overwinter. The Land Trust can help conserve the places they need to survive right here in Central Oregon. Central Oregon is a key way station on the West Coast flyway for Western monarchs, and if we want to have monarchs in the future, we need to make sure adequate habitat is available along the flyway.

The Land Trust can also help increase the amount of milkweed available, which monarchs need to survive. We’ve been planting native milkweed, the only food source for monarch caterpillars, for several years on our Community Preserves. However, this new monarch program will allow us to take our work to a new level and engage new partners in the effort. We hope to educate our local communities about the plight of our local monarch butterflies, distribute native milkweed to our community, and train volunteers and local schools to raise and release monarchs. We’ll also work with researchers to document our success. We’ll be expanding our work beyond the boundaries of our Preserves and into the backyards, schools, and parks in communities throughout Central Oregon.

As we develop this new program we hope you'll get involved! Together we can help improve this iconic butterfly’s chance of survival.

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