Wild Monarch Butterfly Release
The Pollinator Protection Fund is a 501(c)(3) California Public Benefit.
We establish, protect, maintain and develop pollinator habitat and breeding grounds in the coastal communities of Southern California. We are a grass roots, hands-on charity. Our success is based upon our approach of direct action. We achieve conservation results through planting beautiful native habitat gardens to a high standard. Our gardens include bright and uplifting educational signage in both English and Spanish.
One of our primary objectives is to support the resurrection of the Western 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 habitat, territory and species
An Introduction to Western Monarch Butterflies
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.
Scientists predict that there is a 99% likelihood of Western Monarch Butterflies reaching quasi-extinction in the next 60 years. Quasi-Extinction means that Western Monarch Butterfly populations will never be able to recover to their former levels. Their numbers will have dropped to such an extent that they will never been seen in large numbers as they once were, overwintering along the coast of California.
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.
Milkweed - the Monarch Butterfly Host Plant.
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 locations, soils, ecosystems 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 calscape.org has a list of native milkweed plants to match up with your area in California.
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. Some California native plants we like to use are: Monardella Odoratissima, Monardella Viminea, Achillea Millefolium, Erigeron Glaucus, Eriogonum sp., Encelia Californica, Coreopsis sp. , Salvia species.
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 (calscape.org) 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.
Tree of Life Nursery,
33201 Ortega Highway,
San Juan Capistrano,
Moosa Creek Nursery,
27201 Coolwater Ranch Road
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,
Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery,
10459 Tuxford St.,