This image is of a female Monarch Butterfly that was born in my garden on June 4, 2015. Before she took her first flight into the world, I placed her on an "iceberg" rose to rest up and I captured the moment.
The iconic Monarch -- known as a familiar backyard beauty across the United States -- was once one of the most common butterflies of North America, noted for its spectacular multigenerational migration each year from Mexico to Canada and back. But in the past 20 years the Monarch population has declined by 90 percent. That's largely due to the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest (where most Monarchs are born) and the use there of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, a potent killer of milkweed, the Monarch caterpillar's ONLY food.
With the Monarch butterfly numbers at an all time low, the Monarch has cleared its first hurdle toward Endangered Species Act protection. In response to a summer 2014 petition by the Center and allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared that safeguards may be warranted, and the agency is now embarking on a one-year review of the species' status.
Habitat must be protected now, before we see the day when this miracle of nature is only a memory. So, will you plant Milkweed in your garden to help the Monarch survive? Planting new habitat will not only help butterflies around your home but will help butterflies reach others who without your assistance would not see a Monarch. One seed can change the world, but you have to plant it. Thank you for making a difference!