Des Moines Man’s Monarch Butterfly Project a Success

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DES MOINES, Iowa - When Randy Rollins started the Des Moines Great Monarch Initiative in late-April, he had no idea the amount of support he'd receive from the community.

Rollins ordered over 300 bags of milkweed seeds - the wildflower plant Monarch Butterflies rely on to survive - in order to re-populate the insect in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. Anyone who sent him a self-addressed and stamped envelope would receive a bag of milkweed seeds in the mail to plant their own Monarch Butterfly habitat. Rollins says not only did every packet get mailed out - he received cash donations to continue the project.

"It really just goes to show that the community here in Des Moines are at the forefront of caring about our environment," Rollins said.

The Monarch Butterfly population has plummeted by 90 percent since 1992, largely in part due to the decline of milkweed. The wildflower has been reduced by pesticides and herbicides, as well as developments pushing it out of its natural habitat.

Rollins says his next goal is to plan a community bike ride sometime in October or November, going through Des Moines' bike trail system planting milkweed along the way. He's also running another seed drive this fall, so if you'd still like to get in on the initiative, send Rollins a self-addressed and stamped envelope to: 3333 Grand Avenue #392, Des Moines, Iowa 50312.