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Michigan legislature moves to protect milkweed, monarch butterflies and other pollinators

TRAVERSE CITY — A Michigan House bill signed this week is helping pollinators across the state.

Milkweed has been long known as a noxious and exotic weed, but new legislation - HB 4857 - passed to protect the plant recognizes that it’s actually beneficial. What that means is that if milkweed is growing in a particular town, officials won’t be required to eradicate the plants.

Monarch butterflies and other insects feed on the milkweed, which allows them to pollinate and reproduce. The Grand Traverse Butterfly House said this is a major win, especially with less than one million monarch butterflies left on the planet.


“Remember that you could actually play a role in helping this animal make its recovery simply by leaving it there in your yard to flourish...Right now, we’re at a very, very dismal low. In fact, they might even be put on the endangered species list,” said Cyndie Roach, GT Butterfly House and Bug Zoo curator.

The butterfly house said protecting milkweed and monarch butterflies here at home could have a huge impact on the global population.

Interested in growing milkweed and helping out monarchs? The MSU Extension has some tips on how to grow a butterfly garden. Learn more here.

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