Earth action hero: Monarch makers

Butterflies needed help, and an enterprising Bloomington business saw that they got it. A monarch-friendly ecosystem thrived at the All Seasons Wild Bird Store (ASWBS) at 816 West 98th Street. From June to mid-September, four habitats were tended by ASWBS Manager Steven Endres and his staff. To keep things going, customers brought milkweed cuttings donned with monarch eggs.

The monarchs were treated with a royal touch. At ASWBS, monarchs—known as the king of butterflies—are considered priceless and worthy of protection.

“In the last 20 years, they’ve declined 80%, mostly due to cutting milkweed,” Endres said.

In the wild, hatching (baby) monarchs have a 5% survival rate. With the comforts of a butterfly hotel, including screened walls and daily room cleaning service, the ASWBS incubated monarchs had a near 100% survival rate. 

The monarchs were given everything they needed to grow within four special see-through cages. The monarchs transformed from egg to caterpillar to adult, at which time wings emerged and the butterflies took flight.

Once mature, the monarchs were taken to places with an abundance of milkweed and released. Many were in Bloomington, including ASWBS employee Lisa Stanford’s garden, where she looked after three more habitats. She also provided much of the care in the store.

This year, more than 200 monarchs were released—proof that kind hearts can go far even in the insect world. For information, visit blm.mn/eco or call 952-563-8760.