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Taking flight

Iowa is an important habitat zone for monarch butterflies, which breed and feed on milkweeds and other pollinator-friendly plants. The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium aims to increase monarch habitat in non-productive land in the state.
Iowa is an important habitat zone for monarch butterflies, which breed and feed on milkweeds and other pollinator-friendly plants. The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium aims to increase monarch habitat in non-productive land in the state.

Before spring planting be­­gins, now is a great time to start the prep work to plant habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators, experts say.

Early results from demonstration plots show that if you plant the monarch habitat, the butterflies will find it, says Dana Schweitzer, program coordinator for the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, based at Iowa State University (ISU).

“We see monarch butterflies in our demonstration plots (all across the state),” Schweitzer says. “We hope folks will consider adding more habitat plots this year.”

With their bright orange and black wings, monarch butterflies are some of the most recognizable — and adored — insects in Iowa.

However, the monarch butterfly population has declined by about 80 percent over the past 20 years, according to monarch counts in their...




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