A Butterfly Effect in Southwest Michigan


Monarch butterflies, though native to Southwest Michigan, are declining in number. The Michigan Nature Association is doing its best to change that!

Each year when the snow in Southwest Michigan finally recedes, a wave of tiny orange butterflies migrates a few thousand miles north to replace it. Although the monarch butterfly, like many of us, prefers 269 area codes for the region’s warmer months, less and less of these magical little creatures return each year; the monarch butterfly was declared endangered in 2014.

The Michigan Nature Association, Michigan’s oldest land conservancy, has trained an eye on the state’s Southwestern region because of the potential the area has for fostering a resurgence in monarch butterfly populations. The Monarch March, a Family Fun Run & 5k hosted each year in Kalamazoo as part of the Race for Michigan Nature series, was established to fight the species’ decline.

In late spring, Monarch March was hosted in Kalamazoo, was the first of the series’ six events to happen across the state this summer. The Monarch March, says Lauren Ross, Race Director of the series, “serves as a fundraiser that allows our organization to keep at its efforts in land and species protection.” From simple awareness to active protection efforts (call it a “butterfly effect”), Southwest Michigan has real potential to save this special little species from further endangerment, or even extinction.

If you want to support the Michigan Nature Association and the region’s butterflies by donating, visit the organization’s page. For an awesome and active afternoon spent outside in the name of our region’s monarch butterflies, you can plan to register for next year’s Monarch March through the Michigan Nature Association’s page; the organization will announce next year’s date in early fall on its website and social media pages.

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