Join MDC at Monarch Madness event Sept. 16 at the Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center in St. Charles

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ST. CHARLES, Mo.—Using mysterious powers rivaling a GPS, monarch butterflies navigate a landscape vaster than the span of the continental United States. With instinct alone as their guide and in perfect sync, thousands journey through the air each autumn to one specific mountain range in Mexico. It’s a specific roosting site custom-made for their needs.

The showy, familiar orange and black monarchs are the only insects that make this amazing migration.  This incredible odyssey goes right through Missouri.  The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will join the Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center, Missouri Pollinator Network, St. Charles County Parks, and a host of other partners at Monarch Madness Pollinator Festival on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m.—3 p.m.  This event takes place at the grounds of the Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center in St. Charles and celebrates the amazing monarchs.  The event is free and open to all ages.

Though monarchs are the headliners, the Monarch Madness festival will celebrate all pollinating creatures that help our plants thrive.  The event will be fun for the whole family and offer interactive ways to learn about pollinator declines and what people can do to help.

MDC staff will give visitors a chance to help catch, tag, and release monarch butterflies so they can be tracked on their epic journey.  The event will feature kids’ crafts, games, exhibits, native garden demonstrations, food trucks, and more.  Vendors with native plants, bird feeders and nesting boxes, local crafts, and produce will also be on hand.  Visitors can purchase native plants and get helpful advice on how to grow monarch-sustaining plants at home.  Guests can also enjoy viewing and hiking the site’s 150-acre restored Howell Prairie. 

Limited parking will be available on-site so plan to come early.  The Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center is located at 7295 Highway 94, approximately two miles south of I-64/40. For more information, call 636-300-2600.

Monarch Madness 2023 sponsors include Woodard and Curran, Ameren, Bayer, Great Rivers Greenway, Magnificent Missouri, St. Charles Wild Ones, and The Native Explorer. It also credits the Missouri Master Naturalists tri-chapters, Missouri Master Gardeners, MU Extension Office, and other affiliate organizations that advocate for the protection and conservation of all pollinators.

As monarchs flit from plant to plant in search of food, they spread pollen crucial to the reproduction of their host plants.  More than 75 percent of the Earth's flowering plants depend on pollinators. It’s a relationship vital to the survival of each—and us.  One out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of pollinating insects.

Pollinators are in decline and it’s a source of growing concern among scientists.  Though monarch numbers have dropped, people can do something to help.  Planting backyard butterfly gardens can help monarch populations recover.  Establishing milkweed and nectar plants will also give them a boost on their long journey.  Monarch Madness will help visitors learn how they can make a difference.  For more information go to  To learn more about monarchs, go to