Monarch butterflies facing extinction

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Just this year, migratory monarch butterflies made the endangered species list, after almost 2 decades of researchers advocating for that warning label.

It’s a blow conservationists say is a huge setback in the environmental food chain.

“Without them, we do not have a full cycle of life, a full food web, [or] the biodiversity that is necessary. We have to have people understand the importance of these creatures,” said Kathee Morgeson with the Warren County Monarch Waystation.

Urbanization is the overwhelming reason, according to national conservationists. But there are things South Central Kentuckians can do to help.

Morgeson and her fellow master gardeners created the Warren County Monarch Waystation. The garden is primetime nourishment for passing butterflies and other critters.

“These are the benefits of the Monarch Waystation,” said Morgeson.

To green-thumbed viewers out there, Morgeson says be intentional crafting your garden.

“There’s pretty and then there’s functional,” said Morgeson.

Big box stores sell seeds and soil designed to keep insects away, so consider shifting to natural plants like milkweed that attract your favorite type of butterflies.

Farmers can plant native species as hedgerows. Consider growing pollinator strips rich in milkweeds in your fields

As Morgeson notes, “If you think about Kentucky wildlife butterflies… the 52 butterflies that rely on the plants… the larvae are going to eat the leaves. You’re not going to have pretty plants. You’re going to have plants that have a purpose.”