Updated: Mar 19
Images courtesy of Butterfly Ridge Conservation Center, Ltd.
North Platte, Nebraska: Butterfly Ridge Conservation Center, Ltd has been designated as the first property enrolled in the Sustainable Monarch Reserve system. Sustainable Monarch is working with partners to establish a network of sites specifically managed for butterflies from Mexico to Canada that will support the Monarch migration and benefit local communities through economic incentives. Butterfly Ridge, nestled in the Hocking Hills of Ohio, has increased their local butterfly numbers by four times in recent years through vegetation stewardship. The organization delivers educational programs throughout the region, has a strong social media presence and is open to the public seasonally for events such as butterfly walks, counts and other activities that teach residents and visitors about the types of butterflies that can be found in the area. Butterfly Ridge’s greatest claim to fame is their moth lighting events, The Mothing Zone, which happen Saturday nights (June – August) and has a strong education component. Center founders, Christopher and Kris Kline have made great strides since opening in 2017, and recently hired their inaugural Conservation Specialist to engage with the broader conservation community in Southeastern Ohio and oversee large scale habitat work.
“Butterfly Ridge exemplifies just what the Sustainable Monarch Reserve collaborative needs,” said Marcus Gray Executive Director of Sustainable Monarch, “The center educates the community about ways they can help butterflies and has begun bolstering habitat work off site increasing their impact.”
As a focal species, protecting places vital to Monarchs improves conditions for a whole suite of pollinators that spend all year in the vicinity of Butterfly Ridge in one form or another – either as an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis or an overwintering adult in the leaf litter. Residual plant cover is important to most butterflies that do not migrate. Sustainable Monarch Reserves will act as steppingstones to allow butterflies to move across the landscape and maintain their numbers. Situated within corridors of other land management types, the reserves are expected to tie other conservation activities together and become a hub of voluntary activities to remove invasive plants, increase use of native plantings and promoting wise use of forest resources to make places suitable for butterflies. Energizing the surrounding community to take action for butterflies will foster mechanisms that generate revenue and create jobs. By stacking the ecological and economic benefits of native plants like milkweed, being paid to pick mature pods, can assist restorations but also develop markets for milkweed-based products that drive creation of even more butterfly habitat.
“We are excited to share the beauty of butterflies with our friends and neighbors. Becoming part of a growing movement to protect and manage land for butterflies, moths and other pollinators was really attractive to us.”
-Christopher Kline, Director, Butterfly Ridge Conservation Center, Ltd.
Butterfly Ridge opens back up to the public for the season on April 15, 2021 and will be following state and federal guidelines related to social distancing and sanitation. If you would like to see what the project is all about and support their critical work, visit their website for more details, updates and directions.
Sustainable Monarch is a not-for-profit organization which works to protect the native plants butterflies need and promote economic development through milkweed-based products and activities. We are partnering with other organizations to encourage sound stewardship of natural resources and establish a network of reserves managed specifically to support monarch breeding and migration. Sustainable Monarch’s mission is to fuel the monarch migration by creating novel solutions that benefit local communities.