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CONSERVATION - Keystone Change

Look at our landscapes with new eyes. We are all connected and what you and your community does makes a huge difference in the health of the planet. Our plan is simple. Work WITH Nature. Native Americans used milkweed extensively for food, fiber, and medicines. By opening our minds to possibilities and recognizing the plight of the monarch butterfly and its imperiled migration, we can help them get from Mexico to Canada and back. Imagine them traveling from community to community where they need milkweed and nectar plants in enough abundance to get them and their offspring in a position to continue the journey for future generations. At the same time, communities who protect the habitats become more prosperous.


Communities and Milkweed

War Heroes of World War II

In WWII, communities from across the United States and Canada collected milkweed pods to fill life jackets and flight jackets to keep servicemen warm and afloat with milkweed floss. The motto of the day was, “Two Bags Save One Life”.

Over 12 million pounds of milkweed pods were collected and sent by train to Petoskey, Michigan from 1942-1945, where the Milkweed Corporation of America was located.

Monarchs and Milkweed

A crucial combination to the success of the migration, monarchs need milkweed as it is the only plant in which they lay their eggs. When a butterfly will only use one plant for a nursery, it is called a “specialist”. But monarchs need milkweed AND nectar plants. While this picture shows a male monarch getting nectar from a milkweed blossom, we need nectar plants that bloom from early spring into late fall, the full span of the migration.


More than Monarchs – Biodiversity

When healthy monarch habitat is present, it is full of biodiversity and helpful for all wildlife. This connection to helping multiple species makes monarch butterflies an “Umbrella Species”.

Biodiversity is present in all ecosystems, whether lands are managed as we see in agriculture, or wild, like fallow fields and nature preserves. Each ecosystem is able to provide a net benefit to monarchs, pollinators and wildlife in general. The greater the biodiversity, the more resilience for the planet and people.


Environmental Services – Water – Soil – Air

Water quality, soil health, and carbon sequestration are all benefits of including monarch habitat at scale within community landscapes. From road ditches to power lines, to prairie strips within agricultural lands, little pieces of habitat add up to a healthy migration and healthier planet.

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