Colorful butterflies that routinely make stops in Oklahoma en route to Mexico are on the decline. The Monarch butterfly, to many, is the most familiar butterfly in the area. Numbers have declined over the past few decades for many reasons, including farmers using pesticides on plants and the decline of certain plants, such as milkweed. Oklahoma isn’t the only state that has noticed the decline in population; efforts are underway throughout the Midwest to protect and preserve the butterfly population.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a statement saying that the “monarch serves as an indicator of the health of pollinators and the American landscape. Monarch declines are symptomatic of environmental problems that pose risks to our food supply, the spectacular natural places that help define our national identity, and our own health.”
According to the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, located in Poteau, planting milkweed may help sustain and possibly grow the monarch population. For more information on milkweed’s impact on monarchs, or for guidelines in planting a pollinator-friendly landscape, visit www.kerrcenter.com.