Create Monarch Waystations around Toronto to save the Monarch Butterfly
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I am sure you have heard of or seen a Monarch butterfly. They are well-known for their orange and black colour scheme and their magnificent migration to Mexico every fall, but many people are unaware of the fact that they've been struggling. Since the 1990s, there has been an 80 percent decrease in their population, and the vast majority of this is due to climate change and habitat loss, and pesticide use. Despite these statistics, they have still not been declared an endangered species. In fact, the Canadian government is currently in the midst of deciding whether or not it should be protected under the endangered species act. After all the news surrounding the endangerment of many bee species last year, it shocks me that the city of Toronto has not done that more to help these insect species, who are essential to our ecosystem. Monarch butterflies and bees alike are in need of a habitat, especially in cities that are lacking garden space. This is where Toronto comes in. Although it may seem like Toronto has plenty of green space, many of these “parks” are simply empty fields of grass, lacking essential wildflowers that could help Monarch butterflies and other species.
I believe an effective and feasible solution for the Monarch butterfly’s habitat loss is to create more certified Monarch Waystations around the city. These are essentially small gardens suited with the proper resources to create an effective Monarch butterfly habitat, supplied by Monarch Watch. These would only cost $16 each and would include 9 varieties of nectar and Monarch host plants. Not only would these provide Monarchs and other creatures with a much needed habitat, but this additional green space would also improve the health of Torontonians. According to a document written by the city of Toronto, additional green space reduces obesity, mortality, diseases, and mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety.
As the former home of Torontonians Fred and Norah Urquhart, the couple who devoted their lives to Monarch butterflies and discovered the secret behind their migration patterns, I believe Toronto should be playing a greater role in the fight to save the notable Monarch butterfly. The solution I’ve highlighted above is an inexpensive, easy, and effective way to help the monarch population, and would have a variety of other positive effects on the city.
If you'd like to learn more about Monarch Waystations, go here: http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/
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