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Knitters needed to help welcome monarchs back to Canada after tough winter

TORONTO, APRIL 1, 2015 — The David Suzuki Foundation is calling on Canadians to get crafty this spring in a national effort to welcome imperilled monarch butterflies back to the country after a long, difficult winter in Mexico.

"Monarch butterfly populations have dropped by over 95 per cent in the past two decades," said Faisal Moola, director-general at the David Suzuki Foundation. "This past winter was another tough one for monarchs, so we want to give them the warmest possible welcome by encouraging Canadians to knit chrysalises through our #knit4monarchs campaign."

Today, the Foundation made available a simple, customizable #knit4monarchs pattern for knitting chrysalises. The hope is that the cozy cocoons will provide shelter for young monarch caterpillars when they are at greatest risk of exposure and predation. The campaign aims to capitalize on the recent popularity of knitting among young, hip urbanites and to engage long-established knitting communities.

"Monarch butterflies are one of nature's true wonders, fluttering thousands of kilometres across North America despite weighing less than a paperclip," Moola said. "Now that scarf, toque and mitt season is almost over, we are calling on knitters across the country to give monarch caterpillars a head start this summer by creating cozy chrysalises, in move-in condition."

In addition to severe weather, one of the leading causes of monarch decline has been the virtual eradication of milkweed plants throughout the migratory path, from Mexico to the U.S. and southern Canada. Milkweed is the only plant that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and the primary source of food for monarch caterpillars. Scientists throughout North America have identified milkweed planting as the most important action people can take to support threatened monarch populations.

"While the #knit4monarchs campaign focuses on a novel made-in-Canada approach to monarch conservation, we also urge Canadians to continue planting milkweed in their yards, schools and parks," said Jode Roberts, manager of #knit4monarchs and last year's popular #gotmilkweed campaign, which launches in Toronto today.

For more information, please visit www.davidsuzuki.org/knit4monarchs or contact
Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation, 647-456-9752; jroberts@davidsuzuki.org; @joderoberts

April 1, 2015
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2015/04/david-suzuki-foundation-calls-on-canadians-to-knit-for-monarch-butterflies/