Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail was founded in 2013 as an effort to raise awareness and concern over the decline of the monarch butterfly and the loss of pollinators and their habitats. The trail is also an educational resource for teachers in Georgia. After the trail was established, the Georgia Department of Education took steps to evaluate and review the state’s social studies and science curricula and identified ways to link gardens to the state’s education goals for various grade levels.
A strategy was put in place to promote public, private and school gardens throughout the state. In January 2016, there were 112 registered sites along the Trail. Most of the sites are in Georgia, but the Trail stretches into Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee. The induction of money from the USFWS will add another 100 sites along the monarch’s migration route in the Southeast. In Florida, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge has constructed a greenhouse where it is propagating milkweed for eventual planting in schoolyard gardens along the trail.
Georgia is conducting habitat restoration on 13 public sites, including a formal demonstration site at Panola Mountain State Park. In North Carolina, multiple stakeholders are working together to grow milkweed to create monarch habitat in existing fields, beneath power lines, schools and public community sites (MacKenzie 2015). Finally, Tennessee’s efforts to restore monarch habitat resulted in 25,000 milkweed plugs planted by over 1,400 students in 2015 (Harris and Pierlusia 2015).