Page 13: Saving monarch butterflies on the Gulf Coast

Page 13: Saving monarch butterflies on the Gulf Coast

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Monarch butterflies are very important to the environment and to the food chain. The monarch population is dwindling and a group is working to bring the beautiful butterfly back.

Monarch release events are being held in Gulf States and one was done in Ocean Springs. A film is being made dedicated to the effort.

The movie The Mystical Migration of the Monarch Butterfly is a creative project spearheaded by butterfly conservators Fairn Whatley and Suzanne Damrich. The duo is on a mission to raise awareness about the threatened monarch butterfly population.

"The milkweed habitat has been destroyed in the heartland. When monarchs push forward in their migration, they need milkweed," said Fairn Whatley.

That has happened because of pesticides and development. The monarch butterfly is an important link in nature's food chain.

"The status of the monarch butterfly indicates the status of bees and other pollinators. One third of the food we eat is pollinated so they are essential to mankind," According to Whatley.

The women are traveling along the Gulf Coast and sponsoring Monarch release events like this one with school children at the Mary C. O'Keefe Center in Ocean Springs.

It's important to include children because this is about the future and the kids love it.

"There is something so whimsical about a butterfly and it captures a child's spirit. It makes everybody feel good," said Suzanne Damrich.

The Mystical Migration of the Monarch Butterfly features 15 different butterfly releases on the Gulf Coast. The movie will be shown at the Mary C. on Oct. 25.

"You feel like you are making a difference. You feel like it's a cause greater than yourself. It feels great," Whatley said.

The long term goal is to plant milkweed and create a corridor across the Gulf Coast for monarch butterflies during their annual migration to Mexico.

The project is about the critical relationship between man and the environment.

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