Downtown dwellers might notice an uptick in monarch butterfly sightings this week, as the winged creatures prepare to make a 2,000-mile journey south to Mexico this month.
If you're hoping to see a large concentration of the butterflies, head to the Shedd Aquarium, which is part of the AZA SAFE North American Monarch Program, aimed at protecting the threatened species. A Shedd spokesperson said that the aquarium's horticulture team "actively works to help monarchs, planting helpful vegetation across the aquarium grounds including milkweed and lots of pesticide-free, nectar-rich native perennials such as echinacea, hyssop, salvia, boneset and ironweed."
Visitors can observe groups of monarchs in the gardens and trees that surround the Shedd Aquarium—they're perched on branches and leaves, preparing for their annual migration. According to reporting from Block Club Chicago, you can also find clusters of butterflies at Lurie Garden in the Loop.
Want to learn more about how organizations and individuals can help protect monarch butterflies? The SAFE Program's latest report is packed with information, including the three biggest threats to the colorful species: loss of habitat, pesticides and climate change.
If you can't make it downtown this week to see this beautiful natural phenomenon, take a look at video footage from the Shedd Aquarium below.
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