Why Monarchs?

In the last decade, due to habitat loss and other factors, monarch butterfly populations have plummeted at an alarming rate. Monarch populations are measured by the total forest area occupied by overwintering monarch colonies. As of February 2024, Monarch butterflies occupied 0.9 hectares, 1.31 less than the 2.21 hectares in the 2022-2023 overwintering season - which is 59.3% less than the previous year. This is the first time since the 2013-2014 overwintering season that the eastern monarch population has occupied less than one hectare.

On December 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that it finds Endangered Species Act listing for the monarch butterfly WARRANTED BUT PRECLUDED. This has spurred national conservation collaboration efforts, with over 16 states developing statewide action plans for conserving habitat in their state for this amazing migratory butterfly. > Learn more about Oklahoma's statewide action plan.


Oklahoma is centrally located in the monarch migratory path.

In order for Monarchs to thrive, we Okies must provide ample food, shelter and breeding grounds during both their migrations.

Monarch Life Cycle – By: Paul Mirocha

  • Spring migration & breeding: Monarchs found in central and eastern US and southern Canada winter in Mexico. Each spring, these butterflies leave Mexico and fly northward through our great state in search of milkweed plants on which to lay their eggs. Once hatched, caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed.
  • Fall migration: Come fall, monarchs funnel back toward Mexico. Along the way, they find refuge in stopover sights with abundant nectar sources and shelter from harsh weather.

Did you know that there are several monarch look-alike butterflies? Learn more about how to identify monarchs.

Show Your Support

Want to help plant the path for monarchs in our great state? Take the pledge and join Okies around the state in enhancing and increasing monarch habitat. Every action adds up to making a big difference.

How to Build a Garden

Ready to get your hands dirty to help save the monarchs?! Check out our tips on how to build a garden. No matter the size, your garden will benefit our fluttering friends. Thank you for your help to plant the path for pollinators!

What to Plant

Now it's time to pick out which colorful plants and flowers to add to your garden... Let the fun begin! We've got regional plant guides waiting for you!