Every Spring and Fall, Texas serves as an important rest stop on the “monarch highway” as millions of butterflies migrate between Mexico and Canada. In recent years, fewer and fewer orange and black wings have filled the skies as the monarch population has been steadily declining.
There are many factors for the decline, including the disappearance of their natural habitats. Monarch butterflies feed exclusively on milkweed and rely on the plant as a host for their larva. Across the United States, an increase in farming, development, insecticide use, and extreme weather have wiped out native milkweed.
The National Wildlife Federation is working to restore the monarch’s habitat while engaging students and communities throughout Texas in recovery efforts. With funding from the Anita Berry Martin Memorial Fund at NTCF, the National Wildlife Federation launched their Monarch Heroes initiative in eight Fort Worth ISD schools between 2022-2023.
The two-year Monarch Heroes program partners with schools to create urban gardens for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. As a result, students, teachers and volunteers planted over 5,600 square feet of native monarch habitat across Fort Worth. Additionally, the 1,740 students involved in the program now have a better understanding of biology, conservation, and how their stewardship of the monarch is helping rebuild the population of the endangered species.
For more information about the Monarch Hero project visit https://www.nwf.org/South-Central-Region/South-Central-Education/Monarch-Heroes