Eye on the Environment: Hilliard residents can help protect monarch butterfly

Kristen Hosni
Guest columnist

Most people would agree that monarch butterflies are a beautiful species.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the eastern monarch population has declined significantly over the past seven years, primarily due to habitat loss.

Kristen Hosni is a member of the Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission.

As such, their fall migration from the US/Canada to Mexico/California (up to a 3,000-mile journey) puts them in continued danger, as their loss of habitat is becoming more prevalent.

The monarch has an interesting life cycle. To survive, the caterpillar larval stage feeds on native milkweed. This plant species is becoming harder to find due to ongoing development and land conversion where milkweed is being destroyed.

In response to this dilemma, the Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission decided to take action through the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge. As part of this pledge, mayoral or government leadership in communities throughout the nation are coming together and carrying out efforts to help save the monarch butterfly.

As part of Hilliard’s pledge, Hilliard City Council President Pete Marsh signed a proclamation April 26 committing the city to promote meaningful activities to protect the monarch butterfly. Potential undertakings include planting native milkweed and providing overall education to the community.

Planting milkweed is a simple thing we can do in our community to help the monarchs. Residents can pick up a packet of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seeds at the community center, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive, while supplies last.

In addition, the ESC will provide a series of social media and blog posts providing education and resources to learn more.

Also, check out penniesformonarchs.org for an Ohio-based, national nonprofit organization to which you can donate your pennies, learn and participate in other local programs benefiting the monarchs.

Kristen Hosni is a member of the Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission.