From left to right: Suzanne Clarke, master gardener and founder of the Sonoma County Butterfly Alliance, Cindy Lindh, project advisor, Linn Howard, Feline’s mother, Girl Scout Faline Howard, City of Sonoma Jack Ding, and Jonny Ehlers, Sonoma County Ecology Center educator. Picture by the Sonoma Index-Tribune.

Sonoma Ecology Center Earthling and Girl Scout Faline Howard has been honored by City of Sonoma’s Mayor Jack Ding for her outstanding efforts to help save the endangered monarch butterfly! Milkweed plants are crucial to the monarch butterflies. As Faline explains on ABC 7, “Milkweed is monarchs’ host plants. Each butterfly has their own host plant, where they lay their eggs. [Monarch butterflies]’ caterpillars depend on it and their life cycle depends on it.” Up in Sonoma County, it is the native Narrowleaf milkweed that hosts the monarch butterflies. Aiming to restore this important food source to the monarch butterflies, Howard has cultivated over 1,700 Narrowleaf milkweeds plants and has been passing them out to the community. 

How did Howard manage to gather and give out so many milkweed plants? Howard spent a few months doing research before starting the project. She then germinated and grew 1,200 native Narrowleaf milkweed plants from seeds at home and another 500 at the Native Plant Nursery.

Along with giving out milkweed plants she’s cultivated herself, Howard has also been educating our communities about this issue: “It’s important to have [native milkweeds] in broader locations, not just localizing in one area so I’ve been doing it at local schools, I’ve reached out to wineries and golf courses. We want them out, and we also want people to know about them.” She brought posters she made to local schools and organizations and spoke on the importance of monarch butterflies to our ecosystem.

Picture by the Press Democrat.

Her 900 remaining plants will be handed out at Sonoma Garden Park’s Saturday Harvest Markets and our October 15 & 16 Native Plant Sale, 9:00 am-12:00 pm if still available. If Howard’s plants are all given out by then, Sonoma Garden Park also sells native milkweed plants. Invite some monarch butterflies to your garden by bringing home these beautiful milkweeds! 

Read more about Howard’s work here! Picture credits go to the Sonoma Index Tribune.