Audubon International and Environmental Defense Fund have partnered to launch ‘Monarchs in the Rough’, a program to assist golf courses in the United States, Mexico and Canada create a Monarch Butterfly Habitat in out of play areas. The program is offering the first 100 participants with free regionally appropriate milkweed seeds- enough to establish one acre of habitat.
“Over the past 20 years, populations of the iconic butterfly have declined by 90%. A key reason the the decline is loss of habitat, especially of milkweed plants which monarchs need to reproduce and for their caterpillars to eat,” said Marcus Gray, Director of the Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf at Audubon International. “As large landowners, golf courses are uniquely positioned to help reverse habitat loss and save monarchs, providing a much-needed refuge while increasing the beauty and sustainability of their courses.”
‘Monarchs in the Rough’ provides course superintendents and staff with the information and technical support they need to incorporate monarch habitat into the layout of each course.
Golf courses occupy approximately 2.5 million acres in the United States. Audubon International estimates there are at least 100,000 acres that have the potential to become suitable habitat for the monarchs, if managed appropriately. The program encourages golf course owners and management companies to adopt other conservation practices in addition to planting milkweed, such as planting wildfires as a source of nectar, changing mowing practices to support the timing of the monarch butterflies’ migration and protecting sites from pesticide treatments.
“If we are to succeed in recovering populations of this beloved species, we will need help from all sectors and all types of land uses,” said Daniel Kaiser, manager of California habitat markets at EDF. “It will be exciting to see the golf community step up to do its part.”
For more information about ‘Monarchs in the Rough’ including a resource guide visit MonarchsintheRough.org. Can you dig It?