Save the Monarchs: Laura Bush Asks for Help Saving the State Insect of Texas

“As everyone here knows the monarch butterfly is the most iconic and beloved insect in the world,” said former first lady and UT Austin alumna Laura Bush in her keynote at the South-Central Monarch Symposium this Wednesday. “But sadly, there has been an 80 percent decline in the monarchs’ eastern population.”

Held at UT Austin’s internationally recognized botanical garden and plant conservation center, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this symposium brought together scientists, experts and leaders from many prominent organizations to share best practices for helping the disappearing monarchs.

In her speech, the former first lady called for everyone from homeowners to big corporations to join together to help save the state insect of Texas.

here are many challenges to monarch recovery, but one of the greatest is installing quality monarch habitat along their migration route through Texas. Planting and preserving abundant milkweed and nectar plants across the state is required for monarchs to thrive. The help of private landowners and urban dwellers is especially important.

The monarchs migrate thousands of miles between Mexico and Canada, passing through Texas. During this astonishingly long journey, they need places to rest and eat.

Texans who want to help power the migration can put their yards and patios to work to save the monarchs. Experts at the Wildflower Center say choosing the right plants can make a big difference.