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Rotary Club plants acres of milkweed for Monarch Butterflies

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AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File
This Aug. 19, 2015, file photo, shows a monarch butterfly in Vista, Calif. The number of western monarch butterflies wintering along the California coast has plummeted to a new record low, putting the orange-and-black insects closer to extinction, researchers announced Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. A recent count by the Xerces Society recorded fewer than 2,000 butterflies, a massive decline from the millions of monarchs that in 1980s clustered in trees from Marin County to San Diego County.

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) On Saturday, around 250 rotary clubs will join together to plant 2.5 acres of milkweed for the Monarch Butterflies.

In 2020, the Monarch Butterfly count on overwintering sites was zero.

A racetrack is the last place you'd probably think to have gardens for Monarch Butterflies but rotary volunteers came out on Saturday to help the dwindling amount of Monarch butterflies coming to the Central Coast.

"The monarch butterfly migrates from Mexico to Canada and the Laguna Seca raceway is now a major pitstop along that journey," said Kevin Kenoyer, an organizer for the event.

Around 14,000 arrived on the Central Coast this year but last year, the Pacific Grove overwintering site saw zero butterflies that year. This is due to factors like climate change, pesticides, and the decrease of their natural habitats.

“These butterflies have declined over 99 percent since their numbers in the 1980s. we had millions of butterflies in the 80s down to thousands today,” said Liese Murphee, Director of Education at Pacific Grove Natural History Museum.

The volunteers were also comprised of high school students who helped lend a helping hand to plant the 11 sites. They say they were excited to be a part of this special event.

"I really wanted to contribute my part into these by planning trees that were and just planting little plants. it doesn’t matter. it has to be the smallest tree. the biggest tree. it could be a bush a flower anything that helps out with the community,” said Karissima Florio, a high school volunteer.

In the Spring, the Rotary club members plan on creating a habitat in San Lorenzo Park in King City.

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Stephanie Aceves

Stephanie Aceves is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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