A lot of work is being done to protect the future of monarch butterflies.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has awarded over 1.8 million dollars in grants for this year's Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, the foundation said on Friday.
The money will go towards three priority conservation needs, with the goal of bringing monarch butterflies back to a "more robust and healthy population."
The NFWF says habitat restoration is first on the list. This includes planting milkweed for hungry caterpillars as well as nectar plants for adult butterflies – especially along the butterflies' migration route.
Their other two priorities are to expand monarch conservation efforts at the state and regional levels, and to produce and distribute seeds to increase the availability of seeds and plants that are essential to habitat restoration.
Of the 22 grants awarded, 13 projects are located in the Midwest.
“Being a priority conservation area for summer breeding of the monarch butterfly gives the Midwest Region a key role in helping to ensure a future filled with monarchs,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius.
Monarchs are migrating to Mexico right now
Millions of monarch butterflies migrate north in the spring – some traveling over 2,000 miles all the way to Canada, National Geographic says.
Then they head back to Mexico in the fall.
Here's a map of monarch sightings from this year's summer and fall migration:
Sadly, habitat destruction and pesticide use has resulted in fewer and fewer butterflies making the trek each year, according to Nat Geo.
But they also said that monarchs seem to be rebounding, thanks to the Monarch Conservation Fund.
How can you help?
Perhaps the easiest way to help boost the monarch butterfly population is to build a pollinator garden – plant flowers that continue to bloom late into the fall.
You can also report monarch sightings and track their migration each fall and spring when monarchs travel to and from Mexico, Journey North says.
The data helps scientists interpret how the butterflies respond to climate and changing seasons.