I’ve written in the past about the deadly decline of Monarch butterflies over the past several years. This change is so noticeable in the fall when Monarch collect by the thousands and migrate by the millions to a small area in central Mexico.
The decline is primarily the result of industrial farming across much of the United States where routinely crops are planted right to the edges of a field. There is no room left for the rich diversity of what used to be a fencerow ecology, a place where birds and beneficial insects found homes. Further, because most of the corn and soybeans being planted have been genetically modified to tolerate herbicides, the entire field is sprayed to kill all non-GMO plants. This includes milkweed, the species on which Monarch larvae feed exclusively. The fields become industrial wastelands after a year or two.
Milkweed seedpods are ripening at this time of year, making it is a great time to help spread them—though, honestly, with each seed being carried by a small, fluffy “transporter” they do just fine on their own. But take a few seeds home and plant them around the edges of your yard or in a flower bed where they can grown and provide food for our endangered orange and black friends.