Reported August 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- We've seen them and probably taken them for granted. But if we don't do something now to save the monarch butterfly, they could disappear. Now scientists have a new plan to help put these butterflies back on the map.
These kids are getting an up-close lesson on butterflies. But to hold one, you've got to catch one, and that's not always easy.
That's because finding one is harder. Too many houses, paved parking lots, and fewer farms are decreasing the monarch butterflies' habitat, causing their numbers to shrink to record lows.
Insect ecologist Chip Taylor, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, says, "We can get a lot more people involved, we can create a lot more restored habitat."
In the spring, butterflies migrate from Mexico through the United States. Along the way, they rely on certain plants to feed and reproduce. Now, Dr. Taylor is starting a new effort to get people around the country to create waystations -- or butterfly gardens -- to help preserve the insects.
"We conceived of the idea of creating monarch waystations, that is little stopping points along the entire migration where the butterflies can get the resources they need," Dr. Taylor says.
To create a waystation, add milkweed plants and flowers like zinnias that produce lots of nectar to any garden. Monarchs use these plants to lay eggs and feed.
Dr. Taylor says they're going to try and create 10,000 waystations in the next three years. It's a fun and easy way to help keep this beautiful part of nature fluttering before our eyes.
In September, the monarchs begin their reverse migration to Mexico. To receive a waystation kit that includes information about how to create the best habitat for monarchs, please visit
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