We are currently experiencing a serious decline of one of our most beloved insects, the monarch butterfly. Over the past decade, the Eastern population has declined by 80% and the Western population by 74%. The species is currently listed as near-threatened and is hard to find in areas it was once common.
Genetically modified Roundup-ready corn and soybeans are a problem due to the increased use of the herbicide Roundup. This has eliminated milkweed from large areas the butterflies once relied on. Milkweed is the only host plant for the monarch caterpillar. Other threats include climate change and habitat loss in their overwintering grounds in Mexico and California.
This website was created as part of a project commissioned for the event 6th Extinction Howl at the University of Vermont's Billing's Library in Oct. 2016. The project I created for the event was called Monarch Release and consisted of an installation with specimens, video, audio, designed postcards and milkweed seed pods. During the even I and students from UVM and Saint Michael's College did a performance where we "released" 200 flying toy monarch butterflies off the balcony into the installation space. Participants were then invited to take the toy butterflies, the informational postcards and the milkweed seeds to distribute. This project was designed and produced by Brian D Collier
What Can We Do?
Two simple activities can have a positive effect.
First: Make good choices about the food you eat. Consumers have power to change environmentally harmful food production practices through our
Second: Plant milkweed and other pollinator friendly plants. Reduce mowed areas wherever you can.
Monarchs are just one of an ever increasing number of species in jeopardy. Get involved and be part of the solution.
A project of