Omaha nonprofit gives away native plants to help monarch butterflies

The nonprofit wants to raise awareness of the endangered butterflies
A nonprofit is trying to help monarch butterflies by supplying local plants
Published: May. 7, 2023 at 11:28 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Experts in Omaha and across the nation are warning that the monarch butterfly is close to becoming extinct.

In 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggested putting the butterfly on the endangered species list.

Nebraska Monarchs is on a mission to save those pollinators by giving away native plants to the community.

This weekend, they gave away 7,500 native plants.

“Our native bee and native monarch butterflies are in decline and the only way to help them bounce back is to include native plants in your gardens,” said Bob Gittins.

Bob Gittins is the board president of the nonprofit. He said native plants provide food for all pollinators.

However, there aren’t enough monarchs because there aren’t enough native plants.

An example of a native plant is a milkweed. Gittins believes by planting it in your backyard, it will help the environment by attracting bees and Monarch butterflies.

Stacey Coury with the nonprofit thinks these plants are constantly decimated.

“We’ve lost so much habitat to new developments and everything,” Coury said. “So, it’s important to bring those natives back.”

This is because of herbicides used in agriculture to maintain lawns and parks

“So, when you go to the different nurseries or big box stores that sell plants they don’t have natives,” Gittins said. “You can put in some really pretty plants in your gardens, but they don’t really serve any purpose for bees or butterflies.”

A backyard or garden isn’t required to have native plants. Gittins says a lot of them can grow in water, like swamp milkweed.