City Milkweeds for Monarchs update and May 4 program

By Dawn Weber
Board Member-at-Large
Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay, Sustainability Director Catherine Werner, and young gardeners planting milkweed Photo courtesy of the City of St. Louis

City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Sustainability Director Catherine Werner, and young gardeners planting milkweed (Asclepias spp.) -Photo courtesy of the City of St. Louis

St. Louis sits at a pivotal migration point for monarchs, right in the middle of what is known as the Central Monarch Flyway. The importance of our location makes the success of the Milkweeds for Monarchs program significant, aiming toward the goal of increasing monarch butterfly habitat and helping people experience the splendor of monarchs where they live, work, learn, and play.

The City of St. Louis has been chosen to receive a GRO1000 Gardens & Greenspaces national award to create monarch habitat areas along the southern portion of the St. Louis Riverfront. The award presentation will be on Wednesday, May 4 at Bellerive Park.

Tentative Schedule:

9:00 – 11:00 a.m. – School group activities
11:00 – 11:30 a.m. – GRO1000 award media event
11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Community planting

For more information about participating, contact Elizabeth Ward, or call (314) 622-4304.

Monarch laying eggs on milkweed

Monarch female laying eggs on Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

From the United States Conference of Mayors January 20, 2016 press release:

The St. Louis Riverfront Butterfly Byway will span approximately 31 acres of monarch butterfly habitat along the northern portion of the 19-mile riverfront and consist of native plants that will also attract pollinators and serve as urban prairie patches for other species. GRO1000 grant funds will establish a prominent southern terminus for the byway. The proposed southern monarch garden areas will be located within close proximity to two city parks, and the anticipated result will be two large monarch/pollinator gardens that will also provide additional acreage of monarch habitat and serve as an extension of the St. Louis Riverfront Butterfly Byway pollinator pathway.

In addition, in 2015, the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge campaign was launched by City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Collin O’Mara of the National Wildlife Federation. This new, national initiative works with mayors and local government chief executives to help save the declining monarch butterfly. To date, one hundred mayors across the U.S. have taken the pledge.

How can you help?


The St. Louis City Hall monarch garden -Photo courtesy of Catherine Werner

Plant a monarch garden.
If you are in the city of St. Louis and have been thinking about putting in a monarch garden, now is the time!  If you already have one, convince your neighbors to plant one. The city’s minimum plan requires just a three-foot by three-foot space.

Register your city monarch garden.
There are currently 244 registered monarch gardens in the city, with a target of 250. If you have a qualifying garden within the city limits and haven’t registered, please do!

Reach out to your mayor.
If your city has not signed the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, encourage them to do so. Join the efforts to save the monarchs.

Dan Guenther, the monarch community liaison for the city, will also be looking for help with planting efforts as the Riverfront project moves forward, so keep an eye on our Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter blog for volunteer requests.



4 thoughts on “City Milkweeds for Monarchs update and May 4 program

  1. (Excuse me for asking,
    but if Scott’s Miracle Grow is helping sponsor this event, will these be local native Milkweeds? Will the children participating have a chance to learn that Milkweed doesn’t need to be artificially fertilized? If I am incorrect in my assumption, please don’t print this….)

    To a joyful occasion!

    • Looks like Mo. Wildflower Nursery is providing the Monarch garden in a box opportunity, and they definitely are regionally appropriate. Regionally appropriate seed is also available, so my take is that Scott supplies the funding only. The City of St Louis has been a leader prior to this grant and should be congratulated!

    • Valid questions, my information along these lines is limited. I’m happy to pass along the contact info for the city’s monarch liaison. I’m sure he would be interested in your feedback. Will send to you via email

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