Are Monarchs at Risk?

Each fall millions of monarch butterflies migrate to overwintering sites in Mexico and to a scattering of locations along the coast of California. In the spring monarchs return to breeding areas and the cycle starts again: a two-way migration that is one of the most spectacular on the planet. Yet, this migration appears to be declining.

Researchers are working to determine the causes of this decline; some theories include:

  • Loss of milkweed needed for monarch caterpillars to grow and develop, due to habitat conversion and adverse land management

  • Drought conditions in California and other areas in the western U.S., resulting in lower milkweed biomass, and reduced availability of milkweed late in the summer

  • Insecticide and herbicide use to control insects and weeds, with unintended consequences for monarchs

  • Overwintering habitat loss and degradation in California, due to development within and adjacent to overwintering groves, and decay of overwintering trees as they age

  • Habitat loss in overwintering sites in Mexico, due to illegal logging

Excerpts taken from the Protecting Monarchs brochure.

How Can You Help Monarchs?

$1 goes a long way! Give a dollar to our Monarch Wings Across America Project with Google One TodayMonarch Wings Across America Project with Google One Today and we will do the work of creating 50 square feet of monarch habitat.

The monarch migration occurs twice every year. Nectar from flowers provides the fuel monarchs need to fly. If there are not any blooming plants to collect nectar from when the monarchs stops, they will not have any energy to continue. Planting monarch flowers that bloom when they will be passing will help the monarchs reach their destination. Creating more monarch habitat will help work to reverse their decline.


Give a general monarch donation - conserve monarchs and help support them along their amazing 3,000 mile journey. Your support will help the Pollinator Partnership plant and conserve monarch habitat with our work and various projects.



Protecting Monarchs Brochure
Monarch Habitat Development Manuals for Utility Rights-of-Way
Monarch Habitat Development Manuals for Corporate Lands
The Monarch Fueling Planting Guides

Plant milkweed! Monarch caterpillars need milkweeds to grow and develop. There are over 100 milkweed species that are native to North America, many of which are used by monarchs. To learn which species to plant in your region, and how to plant them, visit the Bring Back the Monarchs Campaign at:

Plant butterfly nectar plants! Monarchs need nectar to provide energy as they breed, for their migratory journey, and to build reserves for the long winter. Include butterfly plants in your garden, and avoid using pesticides.

Download the FREE Monarch Plant List in PDF format

Encourage public land managers to create monarch habitat! Roadsides and parks of all sizes offer great opportunities to create habitat for monarchs and other pollinators.

Join citizen-science efforts to track monarch populations! The data collected by hundreds of citizen scientists across the country are used by monarch scientists to decipher monarch population trends, and to learn more about what might be driving their numbers from year to year.

Support monarch conservation efforts. There are a number of monarch conservation efforts underway doing very good work. Please consider donating to support these monarch.

Monarch Wings Across America

The Pollinator Partnership (P2) along with The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation launched a new program called Monarch Wings Across Ohio in response to the Presidential directive on supporting the monarch migration. As many people know, the monarch migration is in peril. The number of monarchs making the annual migration has plummeted in recent years, but Ohioans have stepped forward in unprecedented numbers to make a difference. Support for monarchs starts with one thing that everyone can do: plant for monarchs!

Monarch butterflies require regionally specific host milkweeds on which they can lay their eggs as well as nectar-supplying plants for energy to successfully complete the migration. Monarch Wings Across Ohio is working with a diverse collation of partners to install monarch habitat research plots across partners' land in the following settings; urban ecosystems, agriculture, corporate lands, and public gardens. Monarch habitat research plots will beautify the spaces they will occupy and provide valuable insight into monarch foraging preferences.

Regionally-based field researchers have been hired across Ohio to collect data on the nectaring plantings monarchs prefer to feed on to fuel their migration. The plots will stay in place for at least three years. There are a coalition of partners across Ohio that have joined the program.

The Monarch Wings Across Ohio program is fueled by tax-deductible donations. To find out how you can get involved, please contact Mary Galea at


Monarch Wings Across the Eastern Broadleaf Forest seeks to increase monarch habitat by engaging public land managers and private land stewards throughout the Eastern Broadleaf Forest-Continental Province (EBF-CP) through a series of monarch habitat enhancement activities with the goal of establishing 4,688, acres of monarch habitat. Monarchs do not consider political boundaries in their migration, and the perimeters of the Eastern Broadleaf Forest span multiple state boundaries. Cooperation among these states and their conservation partners will increase seed resources without jeopardizing native plant material ranges. This project is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and is in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Il, IN, and OH), Illinois Department of Natural Resources – Mason State Nursery, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, and Pheasants Forever (IL and OH).

Click here to access the MWAEBF webpage

Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award

An initiative to recognize business in supporting the long-term viability of monarch butterflies.

The Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award recognizes a US business that has shown exceptional leadership and action in providing habitat and awareness for monarchs along their migratory corridors. The fourth annual award will be given in January of 2019. Applications are due December 1st, 2018 to

To submit an application for this award please provide a narrative and supporting documents (photographs, site, plans, outreach plans, etc.) that highlight the unique and inspiring ways in which your business is supporting monarchs and meeting the award criteria. The application package should include a completed cover sheet, a narrative highlighting how your monarch conservation program meets the stated technical and organizational criteria, and any supplementary materials that you would like to share.

Download the Application



Download the PDF

OR   Order free printed versions and pay only for the shipping and handling.


Monarch Habitat Development Manuals


Utility rights-of-way are ideal for creating and managing for monarch habitat, and they provide multiple benefits to and opportunities for the utility. These habitat development manuals contain regionalized planting lists and a step-by-step guide to creating monarch habitat.

Inside the Manuals:

  • Regionalized PLANTING LISTS

  • Habitat Evaluation Rubric

  • Project Evaluation Form

  • STEP-BY-STEP guide to transforming your landscape into monarch habitat


Corporate lands are a great venue for creating monarch habitat, while enhancing your own workplace environment. These habitat development manuals contain regionalized planting lists and a step-by-step guide to creating monarch habitat.

Inside the Manuals:


Habitat Evaluation Rubric

Project Evaluation Form

STEP-BY-STEP guide to transforming your landscape into monarch habitat

Planting Guides



Download the PDF

This guide includes project planning, site and plant selection, site preparation, installation, and monitoring techniques for monarch habitat restoration.

Inside this guide:

  • Monarch Biology

  • Monarch Habitat

  • Ecoregional Plant Tables of the Eastern Monarch Migratory Corridor

  • Additional Resources


The monarch migration occurs twice every year, a journey north to breeding ground and a journey south to overwinter. The 4,000 round trip journey is in danger due to loss of habitat. When monarchs are migrating they need to rest and refuel by collecting/eating nectar from blooming plants. If there are not any blooming plants available when the monarchs stops, they will not have any energy to continue the journey and never reach their destination. You can help monarchs reach their destinations by planting flowers that bloom when monarchs will be passing through your area. Click on your area below to get a list of plants that will help support the monarch migration by providing them with the fuel they need for their journey. Remember that monarch eggs rely on milkweeds, so make sure you include them in your planting too!

Get your Monarch Fueling Planting Guide Free by clicking on your zone below. So, which Monarch Fueling Zone do you live in?

Click here to DOWNLOAD a list of milkweeds to plant in your fueling zone.

Click here to DOWNLOAD a list of native plant nurseries that supply many of the native plants that are needed to fuel the monarch migration.