Organizations and individuals find ways to create habitat for monarch butterflies

A monarch waystation is seen at an Iowa state park. GRAPHIC-ADVOCATE PHOTO/ERIN SOMMERS

Rockwell City residents may have seen the grassy lot around the StarEnergy Fast Stop fueling station turn brown earlier this summer.

The fuel company is in the process of joining a nationwide movement to increase monarch habitat, StarEnergy General Manager Jeff Monteith said. Company officials heard a presentation at an Iowa Renewable Fuels Association meeting earlier this year about monarch “fueling stations.”

“I thought, what a perfect fit for us,” Monteith said.

Iowa’s First Gentleman Kevin Reynolds has picked monarch habitat as a cause he can champion while his wife, Kim, serves as governor.

“After my wife got elected governor, she thought I needed a cause,” Reynolds said in a phone interview last month.

Reynolds, who has a background in soil conservation, made the IRFA presentation that Monteith and other StarEnergy officials heard.

“All these ethanol plants have a lot of area of grass around them that’s just mowed,” Reynolds said, explaining why the monarch habitat project was a good project to pitch to the renewable energy industry. “What the studies show, you don’t need large blocks of this habitat. You need small blocks, spread over the state.”

Read more in the July 11 edition.