What Are Monarchs Worth to You?
“The People’s Choice: Americans Would Pay to Help Monarch Butterflies” reads the recent press release by the U.S. Geological Survey. The press release continues, stating that Americans are willing to pay up to 6.5 billion dollars to conserve monarch butterflies. A survey by the National Gardening Association asked U.S. households how much money they would spend, or have spent, growing monarch-friendly plants, and the amount they would donate to monarch conservation organizations. Results were analyzed in an article published by the journal ‘Conservation Letters’ which concluded people are willing to support conservation close to where they live but also across the entire range of the monarch migration. Are you willing to help? If you are and want to support the conservation of the overwintering sites in Mexico, the Monarch Butterfly Fund (MBF) provides the perfect conduit to transform your willingness into action.
Each fall the monarch butterfly travels thousands of miles to spend the winter in the forests on 12 mountaintops in central Mexico. The monarch migration is the most spectacular two-way migration carried out by an insect.
The forests provide unique microclimatic conditions that allow monarchs to survive the winter. Forest degradation is putting this amazing migration in peril.
MBF is meeting the challenge of preserving monarch butterflies and their spectacular migration through our conservation strategy that fosters healthy ecosystems and sustainable communities through Partnerships, Forest Conservation, Scientific Research and Monitoring, Education and Outreach, and Sustainable Development.
In the Spotlight
Monarch population numbers during the summer of 2103 were at an all-time low and monarchs started to arrive in México later than their usual date. There is cause for concern but also for hope. Individuals, citizen scientists, academics, organizations, and governments in México, the U.S. and Canada are all working to help the monarchs. It is important to raise awareness and alert the world that monarchs, like other pollinators, are in trouble and their survival is crucial to humanity. As part of our efforts to raise awareness, board member Lincoln Brower has been sharing our latest research with the media. You can read his comments in the New York Times editorial published on November 22, an interview in the Washington Post on December, 3 and view a detailed analysis with maps and photos as well as listen to an interview on the Earthfiles website.
We cannot despair! Conservation requires knowledge, action, and hope. All of us need to continue contributing to monarch conservation however we can, as citizen scientists, advocates, educators; and by planting milkweed and nectar plants, restoring habitat, and supporting conservation organizations.