KING CITY — Continuing a countywide effort to restore monarch butterfly populations, more than 80 Rotarians representing 22 Monterey County Rotary Clubs gathered at San Lorenzo County Park in King City earlier this month to plant 1.5 acres of a habitat garden.
A total of 300 native plants were planted May 7 by the volunteers, which also included Interact Club students from King City and Gonzales high schools, as well as County Supervisor Chris Lopez and King City Mayor Mike LeBarre.
Lopez thanked all the Rotarians who “showed up to help plant a beautiful butterfly garden for our migrating monarchs at San Lorenzo Park,” he said on social media afterward.
“Thank you to all the clubs from the Central Coast and the Central Valley, as well as the Interact Clubs from King City and Gonzales who came out to help,” Lopez added.
King City’s butterfly garden is the second large-scale planting of drought-tolerant plants to support the monarchs’ western migration established in the county by local Rotarians.
The initial habitat of 2.5 acres was created last fall at Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Salinas, and a third garden is planned later this year in North Monterey County.
“Partnering with the Monterey County Parks Department, the intention is to create a network of ‘pit stops’ for the migrating monarch butterfly within Monterey County,” said Kim Lawson, president of Salinas Steinbeck Rotary Club. “These pit stops will serve as both feeding and nesting refuge for the monarch’s journey from Mexico to Canada.”
According to the “Monarch Watch” website, the drop in the number of butterflies has declined steeply since the 1980s due to habitat loss, pesticides and GMOs.
In 2020, the monarch butterfly population count at the Pacific Grove overwintering site reached an all-time low, igniting the recent restoration efforts.