The eastern North American migratory population of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is in serious decline. Most efforts to conserve this iconic pollinator focus on habitat restoration in the agriculturally dominated landscapes of the U.S. Midwest. Often overlooked are small, butterfly-centric gardens, such as Monarch Waystations, that can act as stepping stones between urban and rural areas that are likely to contain remnant populations of monarch host plants. This presentation addresses the environmental pressures faced by monarch butterflies, why their conservation matters, and what initiatives can offset their decline. It explains how applying sustainable agriculture theory and butterfly host-finding theory to conservation gardens can increase their findability, usage, and overall ecological value for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Discussion will also cover the viability of milkweed “nativars” as monarch host plants and their potential use in conservation plantings.

Webcast and Podcast

• Building a Better Monarch Butterfly Garden
− Adam M. Baker, University of Kentucky
 Webcast and Podcast


Building a Better Monarch Butterfly Garden Study Guide − Adam M. Baker
 Download Study Guide (803 KB)

Building a Better Monarch Butterfly Garden Slides − Adam M. Baker
 Download Slides (143 MB)


• General information, research articles, posters, and more - Adam Baker

Journal Articles

• Invasive Paper Wasp Turns Urban Pollinator Gardens into Ecological Traps for Monarch Butterfly Larvae - Scientific Reports

• Configuration and Location of Small Urban Gardens Affect Colonization by Monarch Butterflies - Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

• Japanese Beetles’ Feeding on Milkweed Flowers May Compromise Efforts to Restore Monarch Butterfly Habitat - Scientific Reports

• Colonization and Usage of Eight Milkweed (Asclepias) Species by Monarch Butterflies and Bees in Urban Garden Settings - Journal of Insect Conservation

General Reading

• Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants - Douglas W. Tallamy

• Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants: How to Attract and Identify Butterflies - Christopher Kline

• Monarchs and Milkweeds: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution - Anurag Agrawal

Monarch Conservation and Citizen Science

• Million Pollinator Garden Challenge - National Pollinator Garden Network

• Monarch Butterfly - National Wildlife Federation

• Monarch Butterfly - World Wildlife Foundation

• Monarch Butterfly Tracking and Migration - Journey North

• The Monarch Butterfly in North America - U.S. Forest Service

• Monarch Conservation - The Xerces Society

• Monarch Larval Reporting, Information, and Resources - The Monarch Joint Venture

• Monarch Waystations, Tagging, and Resources - Monarch Watch

• Save the Monarch Butterfly - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

• Tracking Monarch Diseases - Project Monarch Health

Grant Funding

This webcast was supported by funds provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food Agriculture (NIFA), Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), NIFA SCRI grant 2016-51181-25399; by NIFA IR-4 Project Award #2019-34383-29973.

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