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Conservation Groups Want North Dakotans to Help Iconic Butterfly

One third of all the food we eat is the direct result of pollinators such as the monarch butterfly, according to a Cornell study. (C Watts/Flickr)
One third of all the food we eat is the direct result of pollinators such as the monarch butterfly, according to a Cornell study. (C Watts/Flickr)
October 30, 2017

AUBURN, N.D. – If you've ever watched the process of a caterpillar becoming a vividly colorful monarch butterfly, you probably have an appreciation for a challenge being issued by the National Pollinator Garden Network.

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge calls on everyone, including horticulture professionals, schoolchildren and volunteers, to help create and register 1 million pollinator gardens by the end of this year.

Pollinator declines in recent decades have been extreme, and Mary Phillips, senior director of the National Wildlife Federation's Garden for Wildlife program, says monarch populations have plummeted 90 percent in the last 20 years.

"Monarchs are something people identify,” she states. “It's an iconic butterfly that many of us have experienced in our childhood.

“So that's been an amazing motivator to get people to focus and engage around the pollinator issue."

Square Peg Pollinator Garden in Auburn is one of a dozen sites in North Dakota joining in to encourage people from all walks of life to create their own pollinator gardens. Pesticides and habitat loss are among the causes of pollinator declines.

Phillips notes that a Cornell University study found one third of all the food we eat is the direct result of pollinators.

Phillips says the Garden for Wildlife program helps not only wildlife but also gives people a daily connection to the natural world, whether they create a garden in the city or the country.

"It's very small to very big,” she points out. “Some of these are creating tremendous acres of habitat and others are kind of connecting corridors across urban settings. So, both of those approaches are equally valuable."

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge participants can learn more and register their pollinator gardens online, plus they can take a look at the Challenge Map.



Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND