By Maya Springhawk Robnett
Within the past two decades, the North American monarch butterfly population has plummeted. To aid in its recovery, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently awarded $3 million in grants to various programs, including one in Arizona.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently awarded nearly $89,000 to the Southwest Monarch Study, a nonprofit based in Arizona.
The Southwest Monarch Study will be using the money to tag monarchs in the state as well as to host monarch waystations — areas where the butterflies can reproduce — at eight Arizona state parks. The group plans to distribute and plant native milkweed and nectar plants, which are the primary food sources for monarch butterflies and caterpillars.
Gail Morris, coordinator of the Southwest Monarch Study, said the decline of the monarch is partly due to loss of its habitat.
“We know these habitats are getting lower in number, and so by adding milkweed to areas that are protected we’re trying to keep the amount of habitat at a healthy rate," said Morris.
The Southwest Monarch Study is one of 22 nonprofit organizations and government agencies to receive an award.