Xerces Society

Erika Mahoney

The western monarch butterfly is in trouble. This past winter, fewer than 2,000 monarchs were counted in California, which represents a 99% percent decline in their population since the 1980s. But a hopeful spring is following a winter of doom and gloom. Congress has taken up their plight through legislation and there’s something you can do now — take a hard look at your garden.

Erika Mahoney

On a chilly December morning, Bree Machuca walks into the entrance of Pacific Grove’s Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. With binoculars in hand, she’s searching for the orange and black symbol of the coastal city. Pacific Grove is nicknamed “Butterfly Town, U.S.A.” because thousands of western monarchs usually spend the winter there. But this year, its sanctuary is empty.