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PNS Daily Newscast - November 16, 2018 


Winter Storm Avery takes lives, puts the brakes on commutes across the Northeast. Also on our Friday rundown: A first-of-its-kind report calls for policies to ease transitions of young people living in foster care. And "got gratitude" this holiday season? It could benefit your health.

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Monarch Butterfly Can Be Saved

Monarchs only lay eggs on the milkweed plant, and it's disappearing in this country, which means so is the iconic butterfly. (Charles Lindsey/cskphoto.net)
Monarchs only lay eggs on the milkweed plant, and it's disappearing in this country, which means so is the iconic butterfly. (Charles Lindsey/cskphoto.net)
March 24, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Monarch butterfly can be found in fields and meadows where milkweed is common throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Scientists who have been analyzing data collected on the butterflies got a bit of good news recently. There were more of them wintering in Mexico than anticipated.

Brice Semmens, assistant professor at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, says they're not out of the woods by far. He says 85 percent of the monarch population has disappeared and could become extinct in the next 10 to 20 years.

Monarchs rely on milkweed to reproduce, and Semmens says we've gotten too good at eradicating weeds, which destroys their habitat.

"They only can reproduce or lay eggs on milkweed and no other plant, so it really doesn't matter if you're in Maryland or if you're in Arkansas or if you're in Indiana," says Semmens. "Milkweed is the thing they need in order to reproduce."

Semmens says both the United States and Canadian governments have recognized the peril the iconic butterfly is in and are taking steps to protect it. He says if everyone who cares about the Monarch planted some milkweed, it could save them.

"You only have one garden, but if we collectively are doing it, that results in a lot of potential Monarch breeding habitat even in our urban areas," he says.

Many other species of insects use milkweed as their main food source, and for some, like the Monarch, it's the plant that is crucial to their survival.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD