JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In a historic partnership with the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC), the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently broke ground on a new monarch butterfly garden in Jefferson City.
The new garden at the AMEC headquarters, located at 2722 E. McCarty St., demonstrates how even a small space can be converted from lawn turf to an attractive plot of native plants that can benefit these iconic pollinators.
"Working together through partnerships such as this, we can create more native, natural habitat to help save monarchs and other pollinators," said MDC Director Robert L. Ziehmer during the groundbreaking.
Monarch butterfly populations have decreased by as much as 90 percent in the past 20 years, mostly due to loss of habitat and the native plants they need to survive. A critical component to conservation, agriculture, and overall quality of life in Missouri's outdoors, pollinator species such as the monarch need help from conservationists, private landowners, and citizens across the state.
The garden on the west-facing hillside next to the AMEC building features informational signs to help educate people about the life-cycle of monarchs and their important role in the wild. Native plants in the garden include a variety of milkweeds, New England asters, and other plants on which monarchs rely for food as both caterpillars and adults.
"I'm proud to be partnering with the Association of Electric Cooperatives and the Missouri Department of Conservation on efforts to put habitat on the ground that benefits pollinators," said CFM Executive Director Brandon Butler during the event. "This is an activity that all citizens can get involved in. No matter how old or young you are, no matter what your outdoor passion is, get outside and put some plants in the ground that benefit wildlife and pollinator species."
AMEC CEO Barry Hart added, "Missouri's electric cooperatives are in a unique position to help spread the word about the monarch's plight and ways the state's 600,000 electric cooperative members can help restore monarch habitat through their own backyard plantings. We are delighted to work with MDC and CFM to ensure monarchs don't end up on the endangered species list, and that they continue to thrive in Missouri."
MDC works with private landowners, businesses, and citizens across the state to promote conservation efforts, and sustain healthy fish, forests, and wildlife that benefit all Missourians. Get more information on how to improve property for wildlife and more at mdc.mo.gov/your-property/improve-your-property.