REGIONAL: Three Rivers Land Trust, volunteers plant milkweed plants to benefit monarch butterfly population

Published 2:19 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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On June 8, more than 250 milkweed plants were planted by Three Rivers Land Trust staff and volunteers to improve habitat quality and food resources for local monarch butterfly populations.

Several volunteers met that morning at a property owned by Three Rivers Land Trust. This land is at the confluence of the Yadkin and South Yadkin rivers where Davie, Davidson and Rowan counties meet.

Milkweed is a host plant essential to the survival and reproduction of the monarch butterfly.

Monarch butterflies can be found across North, Central and South America, migrating across the continent during the fall. Monarch butterflies are known for their distinct orange and black coloring, and are experiencing population declines because of habitat loss. The primary food source for monarchs are milkweed plants, which is why plantings like this one are so important, according to Three Rivers Land Trust.

“We’d like to thank all the volunteers who showed up to get their hands dirty and improve the pollinator habitat at our milkweed planting volunteer event,” TRLT Conservation Lands Manager Katie Stovall said. “We manage all our lands for the benefit of wildlife, both game and nongame species. We are happy to have the opportunity to plant these milkweeds for the benefit of monarch butterflies and other pollinators that visit our properties.”

The volunteers and staff were able to plant all 280 milkweed plants.

“Thank you to the volunteers and staff that made this
project quick and easy!” said Kiki Mihok, communications associate for TRLT.

The milkweed plants, which are critical for the survival of monarch butterflies, were provided by Monarch Watch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education, conservation, and research.

This organization, based in Kansas, awards milkweed plants for free to organizations that are hoping to restore monarch habitat. Monarch Watch also provides milkweed plants to schools and education nonprofits in the hopes of furthering education on the migration patterns of the monarch butterfly and the conservation of pollinator habitat. The milkweed plants that are distributed by Monarch Watch are from local seed sources that are as close to the planting location as possible.