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Winter Is Prime Time To Seed Milkweed For Monarchs

Wisconsin DNR Jay Watson

Even though winter is upon us, the hope among pollinators is people think about using this time to help make habitat for declining numbers of Monarch butterflies.

The once-common butterfly has made it's 1,700 mile trek to it's wintering grounds in Mexico.

There's a new Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative website that has specific information on adding habitat and other ways to help monarchs.

Caitlin Williamson of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

"...Winter is a great time to get started with planting. In Wisconsin milkweed and other native plants require a prolonged period of cold before they germinate. Now is a great time to either plant by raking or waiting until there's an inch or two of snow covered ground and sewing seed then..."

Williamson says milkweed is crucial to a Monarch's existence...

"Monarchs require milkweed, it's their host plant. The larvae need to feed on that. The adults also feed on native nectar plants. When we're talking about recovering Monarch populations, milkweed is huge, but other native nectar plants are also critical..."

A new website has been launched by the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative wimonarchs.org

Williamson says there are many pages dedicated to creating habitat specific to where you live. Monarch numbers have plundged more than 80 percent over the last 20 years. The leading cause for the population decline is the loss of milkweed plants.

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