Each fall, millions of eastern monarch butterflies leave their summer breeding grounds in the northeastern U.S. and Canada and travel up to 3,000 miles to reach overwintering grounds in southwestern Mexico. Threatened by habitat loss, their numbers have, unfortunately, decreased by 80% over the past two decades.
That’s why volunteers from Virginia Natural Gas rolled up their sleeves to plant a Monarch Pollinator Garden to support their life cycle and provide new habitat and feeding grounds as the butterflies travel home along the East Coast every spring.
The butterflies, which migrate long distances across North America, face multiple threats, including not only habitat loss, but also climate change and pesticides. The gardens will provide monarchs with breeding habitat, as well as resting and refueling stops during migration.
To help bring back these butterflies, we are building Monarch waystations across our service territory, an urban intervention for a species whose numbers have been declining. Working closely with The Virginia Living Museum, volunteers planted milkweed and pollinator flowers behind the Virginia Beach corporate office with hopes of building more gardens at our other service centers and throughout the local community.