Happy National Wildlife Week. Right now, we're going to talk all about monarch butterflies.
These are one of our most iconic North American wildlife species, and yes, insects are wildlife.
These big black and orange butterflies, you've probably seen them in your yard, but they do this incredible migration. The eastern population from southern Canada all across east of the Rockies, all migrate down every fall to really one spot in Mexico. Western population goes to coastal California. It's a natural history wonder frankly on this planet that these little butterflies can make it that far.
And it's an amazing process in nature to realize that these delicate butterflies make that same migration every year. People fly from miles to see where they end up in Mexico, but then they want to know what can I do to help.
You can plant your garden or your backyard habitat with plants that attract butterflies or milkweed. Milkweed is a plant where they actually can lay their larvae and then reproduce, and the more flowers you plant, the more they can feed on, the better chances are they'll make this long migration.
That's right, because the monarch butterflies are actually in trouble. That eastern population has been down by as much as 90 percent and the western population has been down by as much as 99 percent. Now, they fluctuate from year to year but we all have an opportunity to help them out so plant native plants. Plant that native milkweed for the caterpillars and of course don't spray pesticides.
So I hope everybody goes right now and takes the National Wildlife Week pledge.
And then get out there in nature and enjoy National Wildlife Week.