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Sep 16

Monarchs of McKinney: Planting Your Own Habitat

Posted on September 16, 2020 at 9:42 AM by Beth Shumate

monarch initiative logoDid you know that McKinney is right along the migration path of monarch butterflies from the north to Mexico each autumn? These beautiful winged insects will be flying through North Texas within the next few weeks (end of September and early October), making this the perfect time to put in your perennial garden of native nectar plants that will attract pollinators like the monarch.

McKinney Monarch Initiative

In early 2018, McKinney Mayor George Fuller accepted the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge in an effort to help protect the declining population of these brilliantly-colored orange and black butterflies. The mayor’s monarch proclamation encourages residents throughout McKinney to help provide monarch-friendly habitats in their yards as the fundamental purpose and result of the McKinney Monarch Initiative. All the more reason to join in the effort to provide them with shelter and food on their trip through our community!

How to Create Your Own Monarch Habitat

uplant it box container_flowersThe city provides all the information and plenty of links you’ll need to create the perfect monarch habitat in your own yard. Starting at the Plant a Garden page, you’ll also find suggestions for the right host plans to attract butterflies as well as a list of how-to videos from the NWF. Here, you’ll also learn about how to tag butterflies for counting and identifying them and learn more about the city’s Adopt-a-Plant program.

What's even easier than a trip to the nursery or garden center to pick out the right plants yourself? You can purchase a U-Plant-It box that contains 32 native plants that will help you create the perfect habitat that will attract pollinators to your yard. The plants are numbered and tagged to correspond with professional garden designs you can get with the plant box. There are a few more left for this season. Learn more about them, including how to order one, HERE

McKinney’s Environmental Education & Community Outreach Department is tasked with overseeing the McKinney Monarch Initiative along with the Keep McKinney Beautiful program. This department regularly hosts free informational courses dealing with gardening, rainwater collection, lawn upkeep, and more.  From finding lists of suggested native nectar plants to learning about soil treatments and watering, you’ll find a wealth of information, class registrations, recycling details, and informative links to city, regional, and statewide resources on this site. You’ll also find links here to the department’s partner organizations including Texas A&M Agrilife Dallas, Collin County Master Gardeners, and the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary.

parking garage butterfly  photo

Monarchs of McKinney

Not quite two years into the McKinney Monarch Initiative, the city recently celebrated the installation and dedication of a brand-new project – the installation of eight oversized steel butterflies – in the city’s historic area. The butterflies were created by McKinney area artists selected via a juried contest and supported by the city’s Arts Commission, McKinney Community Development Corporation, and Texas Commission on the Arts. Learn more about this new public art installation and about what monarchs mean to McKinney HERE. Can you find them all?