You have probably seen or heard reports about the decline of the honey bee and the effect that has on the environment. One study suggests we have the honey bee to thank for every one in three bites of food we consume, but other insects and pollinators are in decline as well, like butterflies and moths.
The Monarch Butterfly is perhaps the most recognizable. They are a common site in summer with their orange, black and white wings. Plant some milkweed in your garden and you might attract a few as they make their 3,000-mile-journey from North America to Mexico. Milkweed is the mainstay of their diet and as green fields disappear so does their sustenance. At least one group is trying to do something about that and they have created a garden and a nature club in their school to educate students and their parents about the importance of preserving the Monarch.
Sophia Sawyer is one of the dedicated students working with her mentor, Dr. Yopp at the Sonoran Heights Elementary School. They oversee programs to educate students about the fives C’s of Arizona (Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Climate) as well as to plant milkweed they give away in an effort to encourage propagation to support the Monarch butterfly. It is estimated that at least four species of butterflies and 60 moths have disappeared in the past century. As with any species facing extinction, the loss is felt along the food chain.
You can follow the lead of Sophia Sawyer who started a project called Got Milkweed in 2013 when she was nine years old. Under the guidance of her teacher, Dr. Yopp, they turned abandoned garden beds at their school into a habitat for butterflies and have grown that effort into a nature trail and garden club to educate future generations about conservation and how to create habitat for the Monarch butterfly.
Do you know someone who is working to help protect and preserve the environment? Nominate them for next week’s AmericanTowns Heroes.