A Quest to Save Monarch Butterflies: Unlikely Heroes Protect Habitat

A Quest to Save Monarch Butterflies: Unlikely Heroes Protect Habitat

Robyn Elman, a passionate advocate for monarch butterflies, walks along the Long Island Expressway, inspecting patches of milkweed, the only food source for monarch caterpillars.

Monarchs face habitat loss and climate change, leading to an 80% decline in their population over the past 20 years.

Determined to protect milkweed in New York City, Elman's efforts were initially met with indifference until she connected with Frank Coniglio, the director of arterial highway maintenance.

Coniglio recognized the importance of milkweed and had previously received requests to spare the plants for butterfly conservation.

Another woman, Patti Cooper, joined the cause, further bolstering their efforts to persuade Coniglio to let milkweed grow undisturbed.

Through lobbying and sharing educational resources, Elman and Cooper convinced Coniglio of the plant's significance as a pollinator and environmental contributor.

Together, they identified and protected around 20 milkweed patches near highways, even in unconventional locations.

While small in scale, this victory offers a sense of positivity and contributes to the broader fight against climate change.

Engaging in civic actions, like this conservation effort, empowers individuals to combat environmental challenges and regain a sense of control.

As summer ends, Elman leads tagging sessions to monitor monarch migrations, fostering citizen science participation and hope for their survival.

Join Elman, Coniglio, and Cooper in their inspiring journey to protect monarch habitats and contribute to the preservation of these magnificent butterflies.