If you go
What: Monarch Watch open house and plant fundraiser
When: Saturday, May 11, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Foley Hall, located on Cromwell Avenue on KU's West Campus
For more information
For a complete list of plants available at Saturday's open house, go to monarchwatch.org/openhouse.
The monarch butterfly population has been in decline for more than 20 years, and, according to new research by the World Wildlife Fund, the numbers are now at a record low.
Monarch Watch, a Kansas University-based program aimed at conserving and researching the Monarch butterfly, is making efforts to reverse the population decline, which it attributes to a combination of factors, one being the loss of land that supports the milkweed plant, the host plant for monarch caterpillars.
The public is invited to get a tour of Monarch Watch’s gardens and labs and to learn more about its efforts at an open house event this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Foley Hall on KU’s West Campus.
Refreshments will be provided at the free event. In addition to a tour of the facilities, attendees can see tarantulas and bees, and kids can play games and have their faces painted.
Monarch Watch will have more than 5,000 annual and perennial plants available at the event. There is no cost for the plants, but contributions are suggested.
The available plants are ideal for butterfly gardens, according to Monarch Watch, because they provide nectar for adult monarchs and other pollinators, including birds and bees. The loss of these plants, which make up the pollinator habitat, threatens monarch migration.
Chip Taylor, the director of Monarch Watch, said the organization is currently working to distribute 40,000 milkweed seeds of different varieties to people throughout the U.S. Last year, the organization sent out a total of 21,000 seeds during the spring and fall seasons.