Laura Bush fights to keep monarch butterflies from going extinct

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Former First Lady Laura Bush visited Austin on Tuesday to announce plans to keep the monarch butterfly from extinction.

A statewide effort is underway to conserve the monarch butterfly in Texas. The state is directly in the path of the monarch’s annual migration, as the butterflies travel between Canada and Mexico making a pit stop in Texas.

Bush founded Texan by Nature, a community-run conservation effort aimed to preserve Texas’ environment for future generations. Tuesday’s announcement will detail how Texans and businesses can play a role in creating a habitat for the butterfly. “I believe that as Texans, it’s in our nature to produce good stewardship of our precious wildlife and natural resources,” Mrs. Bush said, as she thanked multiple organizations for their collaboration in this conservation effort.

Texas businesses, environmental organizations and homeowners are pitching in by creating and throwing multiple “seedballs” into the woods. Seedballs are a combination of soil, milkweed seeds, clay and water. The mixture is rolled into a small ball, allowed to harden, and then tossed into a yard or forest. They are simple enough to make at home and ultimately help sprout pollinating plants.

“The fact that the monarch population levels have declined to the level that they’ve declined is a wake up call,” stresses Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We’re particularly happy that the corporations have decided that they want to play a part in the return of those populations by diversifying the use of these landscapes.”

There are many ways everywhere can do their part. “In conservation, it’s critical for all of us to come together for many organizations, for individual homeowners, for all of us to learn what it is we can do and partner together,” says Erin Franz, Executive Director of “Texan by Nature.”

Partnering with Texan by Nature, the Monarch Wrangler initiative is a way for Texans to get involved in the grassroots effort to save the butterflies. Those who sign up will receive a welcome packet on how to get started and a bumper sticker.

How to create your own monarch butterfly habitat: 

  1. Plant native milkweed: This is monarch’s favorite plant to lay their eggs
  2. Plant pollinator-friendly species
  3. Create a water source: Birdbath, pond, fountain or wetland
  4. Eliminate use of chemical fertilizers
  5. Remove invasive plants
  6. Install butterfly feeder