Monarch Butterfly Resources
I raised monarchs in our backyard every summer for many years. Then I realized I could help more monarchs--and other insects and animals as well--by working to improve their habitat. Now I focus on growing milkweed and nectar plants for pollinator gardens.
You can help, too!
Planting pollinator gardens in backyards and parks, around schools and offices, and along roadways can help feed monarchs and create a path for their migration. Be sure to include milkweed that is native to your area along with flowering plants for butterflies and other creatures. And if you handle milkweed, be careful of the sap, which can irritate skin.
To help spread milkweed, collect milkweed seed pods (with permission) to share with other gardeners. Note that some varieties (such as common milkweed) spread easily and can be difficult to control. If you have limited space, consider planting it in pots.
Become a citizen scientist! You can contribute by noting the date of your first spring monarch sighting, counting caterpillars, or placing tiny stickers on butterfly wings to help track monarchs as they migrate. Scientists use the data to help solve the problems monarchs face. See the web sites listed below for more details.
Also check out some of the books I've found helpful, along with the photos and videos below.
Report sightings of milkweed and monarch eggs, caterpillars, butterflies, or roosts and view maps of sightings.
Read about the monarch's life cycle, habitat, migration, and threats and community scientist opportunities, including the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, a partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum.
Learn about varieties of milkweed, butterfly gardens and monarch way stations, tagging butterflies, and more.
Find out about the monarch's range, diet, and life cycle and the best native nectar plants and milkweed for your area.
Books About Monarchs for Children
A Butterfly’s Life by Ellen Lawrence
A Butterfly's Life Cycle by Mary R. Dunn
Hopkinson, Deborah. Butterflies Belong Here: A Story of One Idea, Thirty Kids, and a World of Butterflies (illustrated by Meilo So). Chronicle Books, 2020.
Butterfly Tree by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Leslie Wu
Flight of the Butterflies (Penguin Young Readers, L3) by Roberta Edwards, illustrated by Bob Kayganich
Fly, Butterfly by Bonnie Bader
Hello, Little One: A Monarch Butterfly Story by Zeena M. Pliska, illustrated by Fiona Halliday
How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak
Let’s Look at Monarch Butterflies by Laura Hamilton Waxman
Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost, illustrated by Leonid Gore
Gibbons, Gail. Monarch Butterfly. Holiday House, 2021.
Hobbie, Ann. Monarch Butterflies: Explore the Life Journey of One of the Winged Wonders of the World (illustrated by Olga Baumert). Storey Publishing, 2021.
The Monarch’s Progress: Poems with Wings by Avis Harley
The Monarchs Are Missing. A Butterfly Mystery by Rebecca E. Hirsch
Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs by Linda VanderHeyden, illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen
My Life as a Monarch Butterfly by John Sazaklis, illustrated by Duc Nguyen
Rosenstock, Barb. The Mystery of the Monarchs: How Kids, Teachers, and Butterfly Fans Helped Fred and Norah Urquhart Track the Great Monarch Migration (illustrated by Erika Meza). Alfred A. Knopf, 2022.
Pincus, Meeg. Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery (illustrated by Yas Imamura). Sleeping Bear Press, 2020.
Books About Butterflies and Caterpillars for Children
A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston
A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart
Butterflies and Moths by Nic Bishop
Butterflies by Seymour Simon
Butterflies by Jonathan P. Latimer, Karen Stray Nolting (Peterson Field Guide for Young Naturalists)
Caterpillars by Marilyn Singer
Caterpillars by Jonathan P. Latimer, Karen Stray Nolting (Peterson Field Guide for Young Naturalists)
Face to Face with Butterflies by Darlyne A. Murawski
Face to Face with Caterpillars by Darlyne A. Murawski
Flying Colors: Butterflies in Your Backyard by Nancy Loewen
Books for Adult Readers
Butterflies through Binoculars: The East. A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Eastern North America by Jeffrey Glassberg
The Family Butterfly Book: Discover the Joy of Attracting, Raising & Nurturing Butterflies by Rick Mikula
The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World's Favorite Insect by Wendy Williams
Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and their Remarkable Story of Coevolution by Anurag Agrawal
The Monarch: Saving Our Most-Loved Butterfly by Kylee Baumle
Touch a Butterfly: Wildlife Gardening with Kids by April Pulley Sayre