Public Invited to Plant Milkweed, Create Butterfly Habitat at “Monarch Madness”

You can raise monarchs at home also.

On Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. – 12 noon, the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy will host “Monarch Madness” – a family-friendly milkweed planting event at the Big Rock Nature Preserve along the Ventura River. This 2nd annual free, open-to-the-public event is made possible by funding from SoCalGas.

VHC will provide attendees with gardening gloves, shovels, native milkweed and other pollinator plants and demonstrate the proper planting technique. Special guest and monarch butterfly expert, Juliana Danaus from Monarch Arch, will show how to make milkweed seed balls that attendees can either plant onsite or take home to plant in their own gardens.

“The Conservancy is committed to restoring and preserving the wildlife habitat that animals, birds and insects need to survive,” said Derek Poultney, VHC executive director. “Thanks to generous support from SoCalGas, we will create a beautiful oasis near the Ventura River that attracts monarch butterflies and human visitors alike.”

Milkweed habitat is essential to the survival of the monarch butterfly. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed and monarch mothers lay their eggs on the milkweed plant. The monarch is the only known butterfly to make a two-way migration like birds do.  Monarchs travel between 50 – 100 miles per day and it can take them up to two months to complete their 3,000-mile journey. Milkweed habitat loss is the biggest short-term threat to the migration of monarch butterflies.

This event is appropriate for people of all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult. Attendees should wear sturdy closed-toe shoes, long pants, a hat, sunscreen and bring a water bottle.

The Big Rock Nature Preserve is located off Highway 33 along the Ojai-Ventura Bike Trail, just south of Foster Park.  To RSVP, go to For more information and directions, visit or call VHC at 643-8044.

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