Tall Grass Becomes Habitat for Monarch Butterflies

Karlee Kocon (left) and Emily Valentine walk through some tall grassy areas of Crooked Creek Lake to monitor butterfly population. (submitted)

Karlee Locon, Park Ranger for Crooked Creek Lake is often asked, “Why don’t you mow the high grass located in front of the Park Office?”

People often think it’s just weeds. It’s more than that! It’s a natural habitat for Monarch butterflies.

There are many types of insects, birds, bees, and Monarch butterflies. They are adapted to this local climate, its conditions, soils, native plant life, and the landscape with high grass and milkweed.

Monarch butterfly caterpillars eat only milkweed and the female Monarchs will only lay eggs on milkweed plants. After several weeks of eating and growing, Monarch caterpillars begin to transform into their adult form. Once an adult butterfly they get their nectar from common beneficial native plants, often viewed as weeds, the Asters, Goldenrods, Butterfly Weed, Milkweed, Inronweed, and wild Yarrow.

All of these native plants belong here. it’s habitat is kept intact and natural to provide a safe haven for these butterflies to thrive, survive, and reproduce.

For all of their positive efforts in Monarch conservation, they are nationally recognized as a Monarch Waystation. The greatest threat today is from the loss in quantity and quality of habitat available to these declining species.

Stop by and see the Monarch butterflies, find an egg or a caterpillar on the milkweed, and learn how you can become a citizen scientist for the Monarch Monitoring Program and help to save these essential pollinators by planting milkweed.