A town in Northern Michigan has been named Michigan’s newest “Monarch City USA” because it works hard to protect monarch butterflies. The award was recently given to Charlevoix County’s Melrose Township by the non-profit organization Monarch City USA, which is based in Washington state and encourages cities and towns to help monarch butterflies by spreading milkweed and nectar plants all over their areas.
A release says that Melrose Township is the fifth town in Michigan to be named a Monarch City. Boyne City and Elk Rapids were added to the list of Monarch Cities earlier this year. Highland and Kalkaska are the other two Monarch Cities in Michigan.
Lauri Juday, a resident of Melrose Township, led the monarch effort. She worked with the Walloon Lake Association and Conservancy to make pollinator gardens that monarchs and other butterflies, bees, and birds will visit.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature put the monarch butterfly on its “red list” of rare species in 2022. This is the second-to-last step before a species goes extinct. Some experts say that since the 1990s, the number of monarch butterflies in the eastern United States has dropped by between 85% and 95%. Loss of habitat, climate change, and more use of herbicides and pesticides in farming are all factors in the steep drop in butterfly populations.