Many of us who grew up in Iowa probably have fond childhood memories of collecting caterpillars and chasing monarch butterflies in our backyards. Sadly, for today’s children of our home state, the joyful experience of interacting with America’s most well-known butterfly has become a rarer occurrence. This is in large part due to habitat loss and the eradication of milkweed (the monarch’s only host plant). The butterfly’s population has declined by more than 80% over the past two decades, subsequently causing this charismatic animal to be petitioned for protection under the endangered species act.
However, there is still hope! Have you ever wondered how you can help reconnect your children, backyard, or community to the monarch butterfly? Want to spend an afternoon on the banks of the tranquil Turkey River listening to local music? Then make plans with your family to visit the Music and Monarchs festival at Founders Park in charming downtown Elkader, on Saturday, May 13th.
Celebrating its 3rd year, Music and Monarchs is hosted by the Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network (CAN). The festival is a family-friendly event that promises to offer fun for everyone. Live music, featuring a variety of local and regional musicians, kicks off at 11:00 a.m. and runs through 7:00 p.m. Family activities take place from 11:30-3:00 p.m. Hands-on activities include face painting, piñatas, butterfly arts and crafts, and more.
The Monarch Consortium from Iowa State University will be on hand with captive monarchs and will present ways people can help save the wild butterflies. Regional outdoor education booths will also be set up for exploration and questions. Best of all, FREE milkweeds and monarch pollinator plants will be available for you to take home and plant!
During the Music and Monarchs Festival, be sure to take a stroll on the river walk trail through Elkader’s award-winning Main Street district. Featuring dozens of shops and stores, this vibrant community also claims eleven sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can also experience the beauty of the area by fishing or paddling the Turkey River.
Music and Monarchs will go on rain or shine, so make plans to join us on Saturday, May 13th at Founders Park in downtown Elkader as we dance, learn, and create in support of the monarch butterfly!
More information about the 3rd annual Music and Monarchs festival can be found on Clayton County CAN’s website at Clayton County Can.