Fort Sam Houston Elementary is a Certified National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Schoolyard Habitat Site. Thanks to a grant from NWF, we were able to build a 300 sq. foot butterfly garden in the fall of 2017. With a group of hardworking students and staff, we have created a place for butterflies, especially monarch butterflies, to rest on their way to and from their migration.
Why is the monarch garden important? (Excerpt from NWF website) The monarch population has declined by more than 90 percent since the 1990's. The monarch butterfly faces several risks. Climate change alters the timing of migration and rainfall patterns in their forest habitat. They're also facing forest fragmentation and habitat loss in the United States and Mexico. In addition, pesticides kill milkweed, which the monarchs rely on for survival. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is currently reviewing their status.
The National Wildlife Federation's Butterfly Heroes program (in the links section) is working to bring awareness to the declining monarch population and connect gardeners and kids and families alike to help the monarchs and other pollinators. Creating a habitat by planting milkweed or nectar plants is one easy way to help the monarch. North America has several dozen native species of milkweed, with at least one species naturally found in any given area. Planting a local species is the best option for helping monarchs is a particular area.