BAKERSFIELD, California – River Partners is an organization dedicated to helping wildlife, including the monarch butterfly. They’re using acres of land in the Panorama Vista Preserve to make sure the monarch isn’t extinct.
“I think it’s a very special kind of work in which I might think that something I do might actually have an impact in a way that I know a lot of people care about,” said Claire Pavelka.
Pavelka is a biologist at River Partners. She said there were approximately 4.5 million monarch butterflies in the United States in the 1980s. In the last count there were fewer than 2,000.
“It’s mainly due to habitat loss and pesticide use,” Pavelka said.
She said monarchs are important pollinators for our food sources and biodiversity.
“Without things like monarchs, birds, hawks and other animals couldn’t survive in the food chain without them,” Pavelka said.
Monarchs breed only with milkweed. It gives them food and a chemical that protects them from consumption.
“Without the plant, the monarchs would not have a life cycle. Since habitat loss is such a big reason for the sharp decline, it is important that we create more habitat for them here,” said Pavelka.
That’s why River Partners is using 60 acres in the reserve to plant more milkweed.
Frank Reynoso, Field Restoration Manager, said they hope this will help the monarch butterfly regain its population.
“Hopefully the species comes back and while you’re out here you see more native animals come back so it’s a great thing to see,” he said.
And you can help by asking your local nursery about planting milkweed in your own yard.
To learn more about River Partners, click here.