The migratory monarch butterfly was placed on the endangered species list in July 2022, which is bad news not just for people who like pretty butterflies (i.e., everyone) but also for the environment as a whole — monarchs are critical pollinators, acting as an essential part of the food chain that produces flowers, plants, and vegetables.
But luckily, this is one problem in which actions taken by individuals can really make a difference. And one Glendale, California, resident has proved just that by building a butterfly waystation in his backyard and convincing the local government and his neighbors to join his efforts.
Glendale’s Raziq Rauf, a writer by trade, “couldn’t stop thinking about the declining monarch butterfly population after seeing a butterfly habitat crop up years ago at his local community garden,” according to Nextdoor, where Raziq made his original post.
He decided to hold an event to help educate his neighborhood about how they could all come together to help resuscitate the monarch butterfly population, writing, “Come find out how YOU can affect change on an individual level. Because you can!”
“It’s very easy,” he continues. “I have my own waystation in my backyard! And I am in no way a gardener. I write for a living. The barrier to entry is super low. I believe in you.”
Raziq ended up distributing milkweed (monarchs’ favorite plant) seedlings to his neighbors, connecting with a park commissioner, and getting another butterfly waystation planted at the local park.
Monarch butterfly populations have been dropping to critically low levels in recent years due to extreme weather events and the use of pesticides and herbicides — but if enough people make the effort to save them, it could help reverse that trend.
Raziq’s neighbors were inspired by his efforts to save their local butterfly population and let him know in the comments section of his original post.
“Thank you for making a difference in this world!! We can save Monarchs one backyard at a time!!” writes one neighbor.
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