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The Cleveland Metro Parks: A Vital Stopover for Monarchs

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

CLEVELAND, OH - Cleveland Metro Parks, often referred to as the "Emerald Necklace" for its interconnected network of parks and reservations, plays a crucial role in the monarch butterfly's migration. The parks provide essential stopover points for these weary travelers during their long journey south.

One of the key features of the parks that attract monarch butterflies is the abundance of nectar-rich wildflowers. As monarchs make their way through the parks, they rely on these native plants to refuel and regain their strength. Some of the native wildflowers that serve as vital nectar sources include purple coneflower, milkweed, goldenrod, and Joe-Pye weed. These plants not only sustain monarchs but also support other pollinators and native wildlife.

photo of monarch butterflies at Wendy Park, Whiskey Island
Photo: Kishore Dokiburra at Wendy Park, Whiskey Island

An Icon of Beauty and Resilience

The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is perhaps one of the most iconic and recognizable butterflies in North America. Its distinctive orange and black patterned wings are a sight to behold, but what truly sets monarchs apart is their incredible migration journey.

Monarchs are known for their remarkable annual migration, which can span thousands of miles. Every year, these delicate creatures embark on a journey from their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to their overwintering sites in Mexico. Along the way, they face numerous challenges, including predators, weather extremes, and a lack of suitable food sources. Despite these obstacles, monarch butterflies exhibit remarkable resilience and determination.


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