Environment & Science

Volunteers needed to help restore butterfly habitat

Western Monarch Butterfly in Huntington Beach
Western Monarch Butterfly in Huntington Beach
Courtesy of Huntington Beach Tree Society

The Tree Society in Huntington Beach has spent two years restoring a park that used to be a favorite winter stopover for a special butterfly. The organization wants to finish its project soon with a little help from volunteers. KPCC’s Debra Baer says there’s an opportunity to help with some planting tomorrow.

Some older homeowners in Huntington Beach remember when the trees in Gibbs Park turned orange in the winter – not because the leaves were changing color, but because of the annual migration of the Western Monarch Butterfly. Then the park fell into disrepair and those beautiful migrants disappeared.

Jean Nagy with the Tree Society says her group’s planted hundreds of butterfly-friendly plants and trees to re-establish the monarch’s overwintering habitat.

"And it’s absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know why as a human or a butterfly you wouldn’t want to stay here."

But Nagy says the work’s not done yet. Three hundred more plants need to go in the ground.

"We just need people who want to do a little planting. We provide all the tools and you just get down on your knees, dig a little hole, and put the plant in the ground."

Those plants are mostly milkweed, the only thing Monarch caterpillars eat, and Nagy says anyone who helps out this weekend will be able to watch the yellow and black fuzzies munching away.

The planting begins at 9 in the morning. For the location of Gibbs Park, go to HBTrees.org.