Partner Post: Creating a Neighborhood Monarch Oasis

In this inspiring partner post, hear from Laura Hunter on efforts taking place in her neighborhood in Escondido to support monarch butterflies, and connect with her community in the midst of the pandemic.



In this inspiring partner post, hear from Laura Hunter on efforts taking place in her neighborhood in Escondido to support monarch butterflies and other pollinators and how these activities are building a sense of community in the midst of the pandemic. Bravo to Laura and her community for creating space for pollinators to thrive, and helping to build resilience for both people and our planet, right in their backyards!


As climate change impacts unfold, Monarchs and other pollinators need refugia areas and stepping stone habitats between conserved lands to continue to find food and reproduce. Pollinators are facing compounding climate change impacts, such as rising temperatures, lack of water, and the spread of invasive species and disease. As demonstrated by Laura and her community, providing critical refugia areas help sustain and support Monarchs and other pollinators in the face of a changing climate.

Together, Apart: Creating a Neighborhood Monarch Oasis

--Laura Hunter, Escondido Resident


In the beginning of the sequestration, when we were looking for ways to stay connected, I emailed my neighbors asking ‘What fun things can we do together, while being apart’? One neighbor responded, ‘What about making butterfly waystations’? So we did.


It started with eight neighbors planning monarch butterfly waystation gardens in their yards. Our little project was reported on Next Door and many more people joined in so now we have a big list of waystations.


In our part of Southern California, we learned that it was important to only plant specific (and sort of hard to get) species of milkweed. The popular, nursery milkweeds (Tropical) were not good for Monarchs if we wanted to support them in a way that protected their health and survival. We hunted down a source of narrow-leafed milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) and ordered 60 plants. We learned that it was best to plant at least 3-5 plants so that the monarchs could use, but not use up, the plant. We planted our milkweed and waited.


The good news is some days later the monarchs appeared! Adults flew through our yard and caterpillars devoured my neighbor’s plants in two days. We have also seen Queen butterflies which use the same milkweed and habitat as monarchs. We see that, in this way, each butterfly we see can be a messenger among us.


Then, our Quiet Hills artist-in-residence, Sammi Rogers, painted a most beautiful sign which we copied and all of the Monarch Gardeners are posting in the neighborhood.



We want to be sure the butterflies know where to go!


This was a very fun experience and this year even more neighbors are putting in narrow-leaf milkweed.


And, the monarchs are back in Quiet Hills.