Discover Bella Vista, Arkansas Master Naturalists,
and Cooper Elementary present...

THE STORY

Monarch butterflies make a nearly impossible 3000 mile trip between Canada and Mexico twice a year. To make the trip safely, they need enough wildflower nectar to eat and enough milkweed plants to feed their caterpillars.

THE TEAM

The Butterfly: Impossible team is planting milkweed and spreading wildflower seeds to give the monarchs a safe stop along the way. 

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THE KIDS

Students from Cooper Elementary School in Bella Vista AR are making sure the monarchs find a friendly place to hang out when they pass through town.

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THE PARENTS

Bella Vista families embrace the beauty of natural world of the Ozark Mountains where the town is located and do their part to nurture it.

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THE TEACHERS

In ordinary years, Cooper Elementary has an outdoor classroom and garden. This year, learning moved out into the community to welcome monarch migrations.

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THE EXPERTS

Bella Vists is a certified Monarch City. Nancy G is Bella Vista's resident Monarch expert. This small town boasts 49 Arkansas Master Naturalists.

THE MISSION

( if you choose to accept it )

Turn your backyard, or neighborhood, into a butterfly paradise. Here are some of the things that Butterfly: Impossible is doing. 

01

FEED THE
BUTTERFLIES

Monarch butterflies drink the nectar from a wide range of pollinating plants.

02

FEED THE
CATERPILLARS

The caterpillars will only eat milkweed leaves. For this reason the monarch butterfly will only lay her eggs on a milkweed plant.

03

SPREAD THE WORD

It takes several generations of monarchs to complete the Mexico to Canada migration. Their success depends on their finding food along the way.

04

TEACH A
FRIEND

 Monarchs look for healthy backyards all along their 3,000 mile journey north and back home again. The more friends they have along the way, the better.

05

TAKE A PICTURE

Humans need to restore the natural environment so butterflies will survive. Your pictures will inspire other kids to grow flowers in their backyards.

06

KEEP A
JOURNAL

Scientists watch monarchs along their route reporting what they see, collecting knowledge. People who help them do this work are called citizen scientists.

Need Help?

FAQs

In addition to being a junior citizen scientist and reporting what you see happening in your backyard, you will want to make your backyard as friendly to butterflies and other pollinating insects as you can.

Butterflies, bees–and even hummingbirds eat the nectar of many flowers. 

A monarch butterfly will only lay eggs on a milkweed plant because the caterpillars that hatch will only eat milkweed.

There different varieties of milkweed. The caterpillars seem to prefer ones with yellow flowers over orange, but they will eat any milkweed. You probably have a type that is native to where you live. You can grow it from  seed or it as seedlings or plants from any good nursery. 

This is hard to predict. It depends on where you live and what the weather is like in each season. Typically they will be flying north from Mexico to Canada during the spring months and back through the United States as fall approaches. 

Now days, many nurseries and seed distributors package combinations of flowers as butterfly gardens or pollinator plants. There are many plants that offer nectar to bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds. It is always best to plant native plants that are adapted to your soil and climate. But as long as you avoid invasive species, you can make a garden that is pleasing to you and your family and the butterflies will love it too.

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No. That’s just the first step. Learn to tend the garden. Water and remove dead blossoms so more will grow during the long season. Once you’ve spotted monarch eggs and then tiny caterpillars, you will have to check every day to make sure that aphids or flies or other predators don’t eat the babies.

There are a lot of different situations depending on where you live, the season, the plants, and more. The internet has a lot of information. Your community also has Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists who can help. For example, Ladybugs eat aphids and don’t eat caterpillars. Some nurseries sell ladybugs. If you don’t have ladybugs you can squish them or hose them off depending on the strength of your plant.

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AND MAKE YOUR NEIGHBORS A LITTLE JEALOUS TOO.

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