pollinator protection fund

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Wild Monarch Butterfly Release

Wild Monarch Butterfly Release

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The Pollinator Protection Fund of Laguna Beach is a 501(c)(3) California Public Benefit.

We intend to establish, protect, maintain and develop pollinator habitat and breeding grounds in Laguna Beach and nearby coastal communities.

We intend to educate, facilitate and help in the maintenance of pollinator habitat and breeding grounds in Laguna Beach and surrounding areas as necessary and called upon by the public, local educational authorities, cities and councils, and other government entities at the municipal, state and federal level.

We intend to provide help and support to various pollinator species so that they may be able to recover and thrive within our community and surrounding communities.

One of the primary objectives will be to support the resurrection of the Monarch Butterfly population and their habitats in our area, by re-establishing and creating new areas to add to their habitat and breeding grounds.

Among the many benefits of our initiatives will be the endurance, health, fruitfulness, vitality and sustainability of the ecosystems of our city and surrounding areas by giving pollinators - the architects of the animal kingdom – the ability to thrive and re-populate, thus benefiting the microbiome of our area, its gardens, wildlife, flora and fauna, and fruit and vegetable harvests where available.

As an aesthetic benefit, the re-population of Monarch Butterflies and other butterfly species is beautiful, inspiring and educational for the people in our communities.

Pollinator Protection Fund




Pollinator habitat, territory and species


Habitat Creation

and Restoration

We intend to actively help to create a world where humans and nature thrive together. Restoration is a key to maintaining thriving natural habitats for pollinators.

We intend to re-establish and create Monarch Butterfly habitats and to encourage and support Monarch butterfly overwintering through the planting of key habitat.

Nectar-giving plants help Monarch butterflies while they overwinter in coastal California. Flowering native plants also support native species of bees.

Bees, Wasps, Butterflies and Hummingbirds all require nectar-giving plants in order to survive.

One of the best ways to help the Western Monarch population is to plant California native plants that bloom in the Winter (November to January) and/or early Spring (February - April), in order to provide nectar for the adult Monarch Butterflies when they need it most.


Monarch Butterflies love eucalyptus and pine trees to overwinter in together in large clusters. During the day, they seek nectar for sustenance while overwintering along the California coast. Plants native to Southern California such as shrubs and perennials like salvias, sunflowers and yarrow are great for Monarchs. The Xerces Society has a list of native Monarch friendly nectar plants for California.

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California Proudly Hosts Western-Migrating Monarch Butterflies

Western monarchs spend the summer breeding in Western North America (Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho and Montana, or states West of the Rocky Mountains), then instead of migrating to Mexico, spend the winter on our California Coast, clustered in conifer and eucalyptus trees for warmth and protection from storms. There are over 400 historic overwintering sites between Carmel and San Diego, in addition to temporary sites. Monarch butterflies require Milkweed plants for their breeding cycles. Milkweed is the only plant upon which Monarch butterflies lay their eggs and the only plant which Monarch larvae (caterpillars) eat. It is essential for them.

The removal of milkweed, pesticide use and urban development have contributed to the steep decline in Monarch butterfly populations.

Western Monarchs Are Going Extinct

Fewer and fewer monarchs seem to be migrating or overwintering, and instead, continue to mate and lay eggs year round. Climate change may be a driver, and migrations are more challenging as housing and commercial development replace meadows that offer food (flowers), as well as host plants to lay eggs (milkweed) that make the journey possible. Further habitat loss has occurred from the loss of unprotected overwintering sites.


Native Species of Milkweed suitable for Southern California include California Narrow Leaf Milkweed and California Milkweed. There are different species of native milkweed which are suited to different soils, conditions and habitats.

Milkweed and flowers and shrubs that bloom year round give Monarch butterflies the vital habitat they require to survive.

Please be aware that Tropical Milkweed (found in many garden centers) can be harmful to Western Migratory Monarch butterflies, as it harbours the protozoa parasite O.E. (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha) which can kill and deform Monarch Butterflies. 

Tropical Milkweed must be cut down in the Winter to 6-inch stems with the leaves removed. This may be necessary more than once in order to stop O.E. from spreading on Tropical Milkweed.

One of the best opportunities to cut milkweed back is once the Monarch caterpillars have consumed the leaves and there is little left. This way, no caterpillars or eggs will be harmed.


The website has a list of native milkweed plants to match up with your area in California.


Western Monarch



Where you can buy:

The following Southern California nurseries specialize in native plants. This is not a complete list; to check for more native plant growers in your area, visit the California Native Plant Society’s CalScape website ( and be sure to check in with your local retail nurseries to see whether and when they will be selling native milkweed and/or other flowering native plants.

Artemisia Nursery,

5068 Valley Blvd. in El Sereno,


California Botanic Garden Grow Native Nursery,

1500 N. College Ave. in



Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery,

4550 Oak Grove Drive in Pasadena,


The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Nursery,

1212 Mission Canyon Road,

Santa Barbara,


Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery,

10459 Tuxford St.,

Sun Valley,


Tree of Life Nursery,

33201 Ortega Highway,

San Juan Capistrano,


Native Bees

There are one thousand species of California native bees, 26 of these are bumblebees and most of the rest are solitary bees. Some bee species are very specific in their needs. Andrena limnanthis Hesperandrena, a native solitary bee, visits only specific species of the vernal pool flower, Meadow Foam, Limnanthes sp. Native bees will prefer native flowering plants from their area. Some bees are very restricted in their range and will only feed on specific native flowring plants.

Try to plant things with different flowering times so there will always be food available in your garden. For early in the season, Manzanitas are a good plant. Early Spring is an important time for bees as they have just started nesting and there aren't a lot of things flowering.

When you create a pollinator garden, plant many of the same plants together. Don't scatter them throughout the garden. This is more likely to attract the bee's attention.

Bee in a Poppy.jpg

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COMMON NAME: Monarch butterflies

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Danaus plexippus

TYPE: Invertebrates

DIET: Herbivore


AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: Six to eight months

SIZE: Wingspan of 3.7 to 4.1 inches

WEIGHT: 0.0095 to 0.026 ounces

Life cycle

The female monarch lays between 300 and 500 eggs over a two- to five-week period. She lays each of her eggs individually on the leaf of a Milkweed plant, attaching it with a special glue which she secretes.

Once a few days have passed, the eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars.

The cateerpillars then spend most of their time eating Milkweed leaves.

They eat Milkweed (and nothing else), which is why the female lays her eggs only on the leaves of the Milkweed plant.

The caterpillars grow over two weeks, shedding their skins 5 times. Each shed is called an 'instar' and caterpillars have 5 instars. Once the caterpillars have reached their final instar and are much larger, they enter the larval stage to form what is called a "chrysalis," a green pod structure usually with slim gold-colored markings. Once they have formed a chrysalis upon the leaves of the Milkweed plant (or on nearby bushes or woody stems), they will stay suspended for 7-10 days while the metamorphasis occurs. The chrysalis will turn black once they are fully formed and then finally it will become clear. They will emerge from the chrysalis as a fully formed black and orange butterfly and hang upside down anywhere from 6 hours to 12 hours while their wings fill with a special lymph fluid.

When they complete their metamorphosis dictates how they will behave.

If they emerge in the spring or early summer, they’ll start reproducing within days. But if they’re born in the later summer or fall, they know winter is coming and will migrate south for warmer weather.


Monarchs’ distinctive colors warn predators that they’re poisonous.

The poison comes from their very particular diet. Milkweed is toxic to species other than Monarch butterflies, but monarchs have evolved to tolerate it and to use it to their advantage by storing the toxins in their bodies and making themselves poisonous to predators, such as birds.

About Monarch Butterflies