By Friends of the South Pasadena Nature Park
The Western Monarch Butterfly needs your help to prevent its extinction.
A new Friends of the South Pasadena Nature Park project will make it easy for you to get involved in saving the imperiled butterfly, known for its beautiful and distinctive orange and black wing pattern.
“We’ll be giving out free native California Milkweed seeds to plant in your garden to support the Monarch,” said Barbara Eisenstein, founder and director of the South Pasadena Nature Park. “They need milkweed because it’s the only food Monarch caterpillars can eat before turning into cocoons and then into butterflies.”
To that end, the Friends will provide free packages of native California milkweed to those interested in helping the Monarch for the next month at the South Pasadena Farmers’ Market every Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00pm. The Friends will hand out the seeds at a table near the Walking Man statue just south of Mission Street on Meridian. Simply plant them in your garden and watch the flowers and Monarch Butterflies grow. The flowers support other important pollinators as well.
Help from gardeners is needed due to factors such as the spread of invasive species of grass in wildlands, urban development, and pesticide use that have reduced the amount of milkweed in California eliminating this necessary food supply for the Monarchs. These factors have decimated the population of the Western Monarch. In the 1980s, the population of the butterfly—which migrates from Mexico to California and other points north during its life cycle—numbered in the millions. Last year, only 2,000 were counted, moving the species close to extinction.
Consequently, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has called on Californians to plan native milkweed in an attempt to revive the Western Monarch. Here in South Pasadena, the Friends of the Nature Park is helping the Xerces Society meet its objective by supplying seeds for free.