In five municipalities in the state of México, monarch butterflies have their own gardens.
A program designed to promote the safe and healthy migration of monarch butterflies as they traverse Mexico each year has planted 67 gardens where the insects can rest and feed.
Plants intended for the butterflies are planted alongside vegetables, and are being cared for by farming families.
The program, an initiative of The Monarch Route, also teaches those families about the monarch butterflies’ migratory cycle and the importance of their conservation.
The gardens were designed in such a way that only simple techniques and procedures are needed to plant one.
The project came about through the collaboration of the National Foundation for the Conservation of the Monarch Butterfly’s Wooded Habitat, the construction firm OHL México and the Autonomous University of Chapingo.
So far gardens have been planted in the municipalities of Villa de Allende, Temascalcingo, El Oro, San Felipe del Progreso and San José del Rincón.
The program’s goal is to have 158 gardens in place in 10 municipalities in both México state and Michoacán by next year.
In addition to the gardens, The Monarch Route has also partnered with the Santa Fe, Mexico City, campus of the Monterrey Institute of Technology to develop a smartphone application to record butterfly sightings.
The app uses a platform called Pásalo to compile information about the butterflies’ movements and map their migration routes. That information will aid in the placement of the butterflies’ gardens.
Two decades ago, monarch butterflies covered an area of 19 hectares in the fir forests of Michoacán and México states during their yearly hibernation. Their numbers consistently dwindled until the 2014-2015 season, when they covered just one hectare of forest.
Conservation efforts along the insects’ migratory route, covering large swaths of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, have contributed to their slow but steady recovery.