Giving monarchs a wing and a prayer
Scientists across North America are increasingly concerned about the status of the monarch, which is listed as a species of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species in Canada.
In late January 2014, scientists in Mexico reported the lowest number of monarchs since monitoring began in 1993.
In the last few years, Julie Sveinson Pelc, NCC manager of stewardship programs in Manitoba, has led a project in partnership with Earth Rangers and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation to restore tall grass prairie habitat for monarch butterflies. Working with Prairie Habitats Inc., NCC has developed a five-year plan to restore 100 acres (40 hectares) of former agricultural land within the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in southeast Manitoba.
Pelc and her team have been preparing the site and collecting local native seeds that would be distributed in the remaining areas as needed.
The monarch habitat restoration site is located just south of NCC’s Weston Family Tall Grass Prairie Interpretive Centre, first opened to the public in July 2013. NCC is planning a new monarch butterfly hiking trail, which will pass through the restoration site. The centre will also offer workshops and presentations to help visitors learn more about creating their own prairie gardens to help monarch butterflies.