Prairie Sky Butterfly Conservation
Are we helping or hurting monarchs by releasing large numbers of captive-reared individuals? Across the country, people purchase monarchs for release at weddings, funerals, and other celebrations; and to raise in classrooms and other educational settings.
Prairie Sky Sanctuary through the Butterfly Restoration Project is a partner of Monarch Watch, which is a non-profit organization that engages citizen scientists in large scale research projects. Citizens who raise migration monarchs have a unique opportunity to help Monarch Watch gather research on the monarch migration as a citizen scientist.
The Prairie Sky Monarch Program was created in 2016 to foster and support monarch butterflies as they pass through SW Wisconsin. We are a non-profit (501 C-3) research and education organization that uses the monarch (Danaus plexippus) as an educational model for learning more
Monarch butterfly caterpillars are fun to raise until they form chrysalises and ultimately emerge transformed as butterflies. This instructable takes you even further back in the butterfly life cycle and describes how to raise a monarch from a newly-laid egg into a fully grown butterfly.
One walk through the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven is all you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Experience over 40 species of exotic high-flying butterflies and several stunning bird species from the Southern hemisphere in our 2,700 square-foot greenhouse. Complete with serene pools of water, flowers, tropical trees and 1,000 butterflies, it always feels like summer in the Butterfly Haven.
Regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia), a butterfly presently listed as a Federal Species of Concern and Endangered in Wisconsin, has been found in large grassland areas with tallgrass prairie remnants or lightly grazed pasture lands containing prairie vegetation. The larval food plants are violets, primarily prairie violet (Viola pedatifida), birdsfoot violet (V. pedata) and arrowleaf violet (V.sagittata). Adults are present between late June and early September with peak flight usually the first part of July.
Asclepias species produce some of the most complex flowers in the plant kingdom, comparable to orchids in complexity: Whorled, Purple, Prairie, Antelope, Horse tail. All members of the genus Asclepias are appealing to Monarch butterflies and caterpillars. Nine species grow in Crawford County but only four are available at local nurseries. I’m going to show you six more today.
The monarch butterfly is one of the most recognizable species in North America and it’s in trouble. A changing climate has intensified weather events which may impact monarch populations. Pesticide use can destroy the milkweed monarchs need to survive. Habitat loss and fragmentation has occurred throughout the monarch’s range.
Originally posted by Peggy Notbaert Nature Museum by Doug Taron
Of all the species that we work with in the butterfly conservation lab, by far the most challenging has been the species that is also the most seriously endangered, the Swamp Metalmark. This species has proven difficult at virtually every stage of the captive breeding process. The populations where we can obtain founder stock are small. The few females that we are able to collect don’t lay many eggs.
Butterflies are an important indicator of a healthy environment and ecosystem. They are considered a model species to study the impact of habitat destruction and fragmentation. The conservation of this important pollinator benefits the entire ecosystem.