TORONTO, APRIL 2, 2015 — The David Suzuki Foundation will encourage Torontonians to plant milkweed in their yards, parks and schools again this spring through its second annual #gotmilkweed campaign, in support of dwindling migratory monarch butterfly populations.
"Monarch butterflies are one of nature's true wonders, fluttering thousands of kilometres across North America despite weighing less than a paperclip," said Jode Roberts, manager of the David Suzuki Foundation's Got Milkweed campaign and Toronto-based Homegrown National Park Project. "We hope to inspire Torontonians to do their part to help the monarch by planting milkweed in gardens, schoolyards and parks — and lots of surprising places in between."
The campaign was launched on April 1 alongside #knit4monarchs, a playful campaign that called on Canadians to knit monarch chrysalises. The #knit4monarchs campaign generated much online interest but was revealed to be an April Fool's joke: "While we are advocating for made-in-Canada solutions to the monarch crisis, having grandmothers and hipsters across the country knitting chrysalises is just silly," Roberts said. "What monarchs need right now is milkweed — lots of milkweed."
Similar to last year's popular #gotmilkweed campaign, during April or until supplies last, Torontonians can order milkweed plants for $5 or support the campaign by contributing $25 toward milkweed planting in schoolyards and parks by volunteer Homegrown Park Rangers. This year's campaign also includes an option to purchase a $100 Got Milkweed Kit that includes 20 milkweed plants, promotional stickers and resources about monarchs, milkweed and butterfly gardening — ideal for a community group, company or school.
Milkweed is the only plant that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and is 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 help support threatened monarch populations.
Over the past two winters, numbers of monarchs overwintering in Mexico hit an all-time low, dropping from more than a billion to less than 60 million this past winter. Severe weather and the virtual eradication of milkweed throughout much of their migratory path between Canada and Mexico have put the monarchs' epic migration back to Canada at risk.
"We urge Torontonians help make way for butterflies in their neighbourhoods," Roberts said. "Inspire your neighbours to get planting. Encourage schools, churches, stores and other institutions to do the same. Together we can create a butterfly corridor through the city, one milkweed plant at a time."
For more information, please visit www.davidsuzuki.org/gotmilkweed or contact:
Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation, 647-456-9752; firstname.lastname@example.org; @joderoberts