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Easy Tips to Create Your Own Monarch Waystation

First of all, we'd like to thank Dr. Chip Taylor, Director of Monarchwatch.org, whose work inspired us to create our "Milkweed for Monarchs Butterfly Garden" Project on Kickstarter.com.

Deciding to plant a Monarch Waystation can be as easy as adding milkweed to your existing flower garden or starting from scratch. We've scoured the Internet for you, and below are our favorite references to help you:
  1. Favorite Web Sites
  2. Educational Resources for Teachers
  3. Available Grants
We also have included flower suggestions for gardens east and west of the Rocky Mountains:

Flower suggestions east of the Rocky Mountains


Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Broadleaf Milkweed (Asclepias latifolia)


Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea)
Tithonia Torch, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia)
Zinnia, Dahlia Mix (Zinnia elegans)

Flower suggestions for gardens west of the Rocky Mountains:


Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)


Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)
Chia (Salvia columbariae)
Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea)
Tithonia Torch, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia)
Zinnia, Dahlia Mix (Zinnia elegans)

Favorite Web Sites

Creator of the national Monarch Waystation program. Register and certify your Waystation to help monarch research: http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/certify.html

If you'd like to see an Instruction Guide on how to create a Monarch Waystation, click here.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Spring, 2017
Track the monarch's progress on the map as they head north. Please help the researchers and report monarch sightings in YOUR area, too!

http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/ and http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/raising-monarch-butterflies-ebook
Excellent e-book on how to Rescue, Raise, and Release monarchs. This is the guide we used most when raising our first 38 monarchs that we collected as eggs.

Excellent photos of monarchs range, host plants, nectar plants, and life cycle

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project
The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) is a citizen science project involving volunteers from across the United States and Canada in monarch research.

How to Create Habitat for Monarchs

Best Butterfly Gardening Web Sites
Butterfly gardens are easy to plant, and you can design one that gives monarchs habitat throughout their breeding cycle.

Find YOUR native plant list by zip code!

Excellent step-by-step instructions on how to grow milkweed, including two videos covering "cold moist stratification."

BONAP's North American Plant Atlas
Excellent distribution maps for milkweed in the continental US, Alaska, and Canada.

Peak Migration Dates: When will the migration peak in my area?

Lookup your first and last freeze/frost dates by zip code

Photos of butterfly caterpillars to help with identification

This web site will help you attract butterflies to your garden by showing you the nectar plants they need for food and the host plants they need to lay their eggs. You can also identify which butterflies you can attract to your garden by zip code.

Excellent guide to help you identify butterflies you may see in your garden or in the field by their shape, wingspan, opened and closed wing color, common name and family name.

Regional Species Checklists
To generate a regional checklist of butterfly and/or moth species, select a species type, then select a region from the drop-down menu(s).

Attributes of Monarch - Danaus plexippus

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Educational Resources for Teachers

To offset the loss of milkweed and nectar sources, Monarch Watch encourages people to create, conserve, and protect milkweed/monarch habitats. "Monarch Waystations can be established in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, zoos, nature centers, along roadsides, and on other unused plots of land. Without a major effort to restore milkweeds to as many locations as possible, the monarch population is certain to decline to extremely low levels.

The Monarchs in the Classroom program aims to promote and facilitate inquiry-based education through original curricula and research opportunities. They use monarchs and other insects as focal organisms in inquiry-based teacher workshops and conduct an annual Insect Fair to spotlight student research. The monarch butterfly serves as an excellent tool to get students excited about science and to teach inquiry in the classroom.

Green Thumb Challenge
From the Green Education Foundation
The Green Education Foundation (GEF) provides gardening instructions; checklists for school approvals; plot location guidelines; container garden suggestions; funding resources; garden plans, vegetable and flower suggestions; and more. In addition, GEF is calling on schools and youth groups nationwide to plant 10,000 classroom and outdoor gardens the largest youth gardening initiative in history!

Best Butterfly Gardening Web Sites
From Journey North
Butterfly gardens are easy to plant, and you can design one that gives monarchs habitat throughout their breeding cycle.

Creating a Pollinator Garden
From Kids Gardening
By cultivating a garden, schoolyard, or even a few containers that allure these important plant partners, students can provide vital oases amidst deserts of buildings and concrete. They can, in turn, set up investigations of animal visitors and their sometimes flashy floral partners, and begin to understand how these threads of life connect.

Designing Gardens and Habitats
From the National Gardening Association
Whether you are replanting last year's garden beds, expanding your outdoor classroom area, or beginning to dream of a green schoolyard, the National Gardening Association offers a step-by-step program to get started or to expand an existing garden.

Eco-regional Planting Guides
These eco-regional planting guides are tailored to specific areas of the U.S. Enter your zip code and you'll get a 24-page pdf file with native planting information that will help you select plants for pollinators.

GreenWorks! Guide from Project Learning Tree
The GreenWorks! Connecting Community Action and Service Learning Guide is for educators who want to partner with a business, nonprofit, or other community organization on an environmental action project and for the people in those organizations who want to partner with a local school. The guide also supports teachers wanting to involve their students in service learning activities.
The guide has five parts that cover:

1. An overview of community action projects and their benefits to students
2. The connection between service learning in the curriculum and environmental action projects
3. How to develop, plan, and implement a successful project
4. Examples of successful GreenWorks! projects
5. PLT activities, templates and other tools, and resources

From the National Wildlife Federation and Prince William Network
Explore this web site to learn about habitat and for a wealth of information how to create an accessible wildlife habitat site, or outdoor classroom, right in your own schoolyard!

From the National Gardening Association
Making a place in your schoolyard specifically for native pollinators can help preserve struggling local populations. Students benefit from having a space for real-life observation and exploration, and can feel pride in their environmental stewardship. Learn about native pollinators and their habitat needs, and collect the necessary information for creating such a habitat in your schoolyard.

Gardening and plant-based learning open a door to discovery of the living world. Within the school environment, a garden offers an unparalleled platform to help kids achieve learning goals in ways that are recommended by the National Science Standards and most state and local educational bodies. This web site includes sections on: making the case for a garden, planning for success, creating the garden, learning in the garden, and keeping it growing.

From the Texas Agricultural Extension Service's 4-H Association
This web site also offers advice and a step-by-step guide.

http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/schoolyd.html and http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/pdf/habitatguide.pdf
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a guide to provide the basic steps needed to restore or create wildlife habitat. It is designed so that students complete several tasks that will lead to establishing a forest, meadow or wetland on school grounds. The projects can range in size from a small 20 by 20 area to an acre or more. These steps were developed from the experiences of several schools that have completed similar projects. The process incorporates critical thinking and decision-making skills while challenging students in reading, writing, science, mathematics and language arts.

Schoolyard Habitats
To help reconnect today's children to the outdoors, the National Wildlife Federation assists schools in developing outdoor classrooms called Schoolyard Habitats, where educators and students learn how to attract and support local wildlife. These wildlife habitats become places where students not only learn about wildlife species and ecosystems, but also outdoor classrooms where they hone their academic skills and nurture their innate curiosity and creativity. For worksheets and how-to instructions, go to http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Be-Out-There/Educators/Schoolyard-Habitats/Create/How-To-Guide.aspx

Links to butterfly-related curricula.

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Available Grants

Butterfly gardens combine essentials for butterflies to reproduce and thrive, such as certain flowers for laying eggs, specific flowers for food, access to water, protection from winds and five to six hours of morning sunlight. Butterfly gardens are not only pleasant to visit but can teach environmental science and responsibility. Private and government sources offer funding for butterfly gardens, but many are directed at helping children learn. Some grants are specific to butterflies, while other "general gardening" grants can be used toward a butterfly garden.

Grants are available that provide money to start school and community gardens, or seeds and various plants to enhance those gardens. Funding gives gardeners a chance to improve their communities and help others develop an interest in gardening.

Schoolyard Grant Sources

NGAs grant and award programs are funded by generous corporations and foundations that share NGA's vision of a greener future and belief in the powerful impact gardening programs can have on the mental, physical, and psychological health of individuals. Beginning with 50 Youth Garden Grants in 1982, NGA has delivered 9,596 grants and awards worth approximately $3.96 million, reaching an estimated 1.6 million young gardeners.

A number of organizations provide garden grants specifically for the purchase of gardening equipment. Locate this funding and your gardening project can take root.

The Monarch Joint Venture is a partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs that are working together to support and coordinate efforts to protect the monarch migration across the lower 48 United States. The MJV is committed to a science-based approach to monarch conservation work, guided by the North American Monarch Conservation Plan (2008).

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On behalf of Monarch butterflies everywhere, thanks for caring!

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