Butterflies need our help

Simple steps can make a real difference for them

Butterfly+illustration

CLARION ILLUSTRATION BY NOELY BONILLA

CLARION ILLUSTRATION BY NOELY BONILLA

Kelsey Germann , Staff Writer

We patiently look for the first signs of spring in the air: the warm sun, leaves budding, birds singing and butterflies migrating.  

I love butterflies, and I cannot imagine the world without them. Looking at butterflies flying and bouncing between the flowers makes me happy.  

Wisconsin is a great spot for butterflies. There are over a hundred butterfly species in Wisconsin, and there are a lot of places where people can visit and enjoy watching beautiful butterflies, like the Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin, Olbrich Botanical Gardens Blooming Butterflies and other areas. 

Butterflies are endangered, which makes me sad and angry at the same time. The greatest threats to butterflies are habitat change and loss due to residential, commercial and agricultural development, climate change and widespread pesticide use. 

Butterflies are not only fun to watch, but they serve a critical purpose as well. Butterflies are great for our garden as they are attracted to bright flowers and need to feed on nectar. When they do this, their bodies collect pollen and carry it to other plants, and this helps fruits, vegetables and flowers produce new seeds.  

Butterflies are fussy eaters. They like citrus, snapdragons, tea trees, lavender, banksia, wattles, daisies and verbena. Including a variety of these nectar-producing plants in our gardens ensures that butterfly-friendly food is available throughout the year.  

Learning some of the most common butterflies in your area will help you understand what kinds of butterflies you attract to your yard. This is a great place to start; we can help by providing the right habitat for them.  

Let us minimize chemical use and plant more flowers in our garden. With a little more work, we can save butterflies from extinction.