Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
The nation’s parks—large or small—all have an important role to play in monarch conservation. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recognizes this and is heeding the call to save the monarch butterfly. Since 2014, the NRPA has been working extensively to encourage park and recreation organizations to engage in monarch conservation. National parks have hectares of land that can be used for monarch conservation efforts, such as establishing monarch waystations, planting milkweed and other native plants, and educating communities. Rich Dolesh writes, “Public parks are seen by biologists as key to the restoration of monarchs because they can provide places where milkweed and other nectar-bearing plants can thrive. Parks are ideal for monarchs and other pollinating insects, which are in almost as much peril as the monarch.” NRPA’s stated goal “is to engage every public park and recreation agency in collectively working to restore the monarch to former numbers and habitats” (Dolesh 2015). The NRPA has used a multi-pronged approach to fuel the Parks for Monarchs movement. Using articles in Parks and Recreation magazine, downloadable resources online, NRPA training webinars, information about obtaining free milkweed, and social media, the Parks for Monarchs campaign has been a national success. “Park and recreation agencies nationally have responded to NRPA’s call to action by installing Monarch Waystations, creating new habitat areas for monarchs and other pollinators, enabling the public to participate in citizen science projects relating to monarch conservation, and more” (Dolesh 2015). With a special focus on involving youth in monarch conservation and education, the NRPA is committed to training the next generation of the earth’s stewards. More information can be accessed at: <www.nrpa.org/parks4monarchs/>.