U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
As monarch butterflies take flight from ancestral roosts in Michoacán, Mexico, in March, beginning a nine-month migratory trek north, the San Antonio Zoo will host the city's first Milkweed and Migration Festival.
On Friday, March 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
, the zoo will distribute 1,500 milkweed seeds for planting because when the monarchs make it to Bexar County, they'll be searching for milkweed to lay eggs.
There will also be a butterfly release at the zoo's butterfly house, insect presentations and displays, crafts, games and more.
The event is a chance to celebrate the monarch, but also to learn how to help keep the insect around, as they've been decimated by a combination
of deforestation in Mexico; the use of genetically modified herbicide-resistant crops resulting in loss of milkweed; land development and severe weather.
In December, Mayor Ivy Taylor took the National Wildlife Federation's Mayor's Monarch Pledge
, agreeing to 24 specific actions, which makes San Antonio the only Monarch Butterfly Champion in the country. Giving away milkweed seeds is one of those actions.
"I will work with local, state and national organizations to develop a city-wide conservation plan including planting Monarch habitats, encouraging ecosystem conservation and educating the public," Taylor said at the time. "In fact, along with our partners at the San Antonio River Authority and the University of Texas at San Antonio, our community has already begun work on or even completed all 24 action items necessary to protect and nurture our Texas state insect, the Monarch butterfly.”