Bettendorf High School students are doing their part to help the struggling monarch butterfly population.
The number of monarch butterflies is declining rapidly; in California alone their numbers are down 86 percent from 2017 (Criss). Monarchs are major pollinators for wildflowers across the United States. However, these butterflies migrate to Mexico every year during the winter and struggle to make the journey there and back.
Monarchs travel over 3,000 miles to reach their destination in Mexico, and the journey is as difficult for the small creatures as it sounds. Then, these same butterflies travel part of the way back north before stopping at a milkweed patch and laying eggs. When these eggs hatch, they too fly another portion of the journey back north before laying another generation of eggs. This process repeats until the butterflies reach their destination. To help the butterflies make the journey, a program has arisen to create pit-stops designed specifically for them, monarch waystations.
Monarch Waystations are areas created to provide monarch butterflies with the necessary resources to survive their journey and lay eggs that will be able to carry out the next leg of the journey back. With nectar-bearing flowers to provide nutrients for the journey south and milkweed for the butterflies to lay their eggs, waystations help to bolster the butterflies on their journey.
Bettendorf’s Community Conservation Club (CCC) is going to create its own certified waystation. On the north side of campus, by the baseball diamonds, there is an unused plot of land that CCC is going to use for this project.
“It’ll be really cool because in the springtime we’ll all be able to go work out there, and, hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the butterflies come and use the station,” Ava Abbott, president of CCC said.
To students who are interested in helping with the planting and maintenance of the waystation, Abbott said, “You should join Community Conservation Club, it meets Mondays after school from 3:30-4:30 in Mr. Mesick’s room.”
Example of a monarch waystation that will be implemented in Bettendorf.