pen and ink illustration of monarch butterfly

Color is pretty, but usability is even better. Even in this highly technological age of rich media, there is a place for the simplicity of pen and ink.

I created this scratchboard-style illustration of a Monarch butterfly for the Make way for Monarchs campaign. There will be color versions in the future, but I designed these white papers and calls for action for the lowest common denominator: newspaper print, office ink jet printers, and copiers. They are meant to print easily from the Web site and post or distribute.

Almost every school kid can identify a Monarch butterfly. They are like dandelions and Robins, right? Yes, but they appear to be going extinct. Scientists have documented a 60% decline in numbers of Monarchs in their winter migratory gathering ground in southern Mexico. No one intentionally kills a monarch, but they do kill milkweed plants. That’s because of the word “weed” that is part of its common name.

Monarchs depend on the Milkweeds to be there in the right place and time during their epic migrations from southern Mexico to the Canadian border–it’s the only thing their caterpillars will eat. Maybe you remember learning that in grade school. The development of new genetically modified crops that are resistant to herbicides like “Roundup” means that many farms are spraying more of the stuff indiscriminately. Highway departments around North America also spray and cut the weeds” growing by roadsides.

All of this pressure on the Milkweed plants has made them scarce. has spearheaded an international campaign to educate people about this relationship between the Monarch and Milkweed. By leaving Milkweeds and other semi-wild plants alone, we can allow Monarchs and many other insects, birds, and small mammals to have a place to live. So think twice before spraying that weed. It may be somebodies only food, or home.

winged-credo. A call to action for pollinator declines

Metamorphosis, essay by Gary Nabhan

Metamorphosis, by Gary Nabhan: Read the whole 3-page article in pdf form.

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