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A free event is helping to restore the habitat of Monarch butterflies in and around Ventura County

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Ventura Land Trust
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Monarch Madness is taking place on Saturday March 19 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Hayden Teaching Preserve

The Western Monarch butterfly population has been recently threatened with extinction.

Monarch Madness celebrates the importance of Monarch butterflies and their habitat, for a healthy ecosystem in and around Ventura.

"Monarch butterflies are pollinators, and it’s thanks to them that we have many of the flowers and foods that we enjoy," Leslie Velez, from the Ventura Land Trust, told KCLU.

Volunteers will plant roughly 100 pollinator plants like native narrowleaf milkweed to establish new habitat for migrating monarchs and other insects, birds, and mammals, said Velez.

Habitat loss is the biggest threat to the survival of monarch butterflies, which need plants like narrowleaf milkweed for food and as a host plant for eggs and larvae.

Monarch Madness guests will have the opportunity to take home plants and seeds from event partners Green Valley Project and Santa Monica Mountains Fund to create home monarch butterfly habitats.

VLT education programs Ventura Wild and Once Upon a Watershed will offer creative art and science activities for kids and families.

Executive Director Melissa Baffa emphasized the importance of Monarch Madness in establishing habitat for western monarch butterflies.

“Even though the recorded number of monarch butterflies jumped this year to nearly 250,000, up from less than 2,000 in 2021, the species is still incredibly vulnerable. We need to do everything we can to provide food sources and habitat, and to educate the community on why it’s so important to protect these insects," said Baffa.

Ventura Land Trust (VLT), in partnership with Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), hosts the annual Monarch Madness community restoration event on Saturday, March 19th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at Hayden Teaching Preserve.

The free and family-friendly event is made possible in part due to a $5,000 grant provided by SoCalGas.

All Monarch Madness event participants should wear sturdy shoes, long pants, a hat, sunscreen and bring a water bottle.

RSVP for free at venturalandtrust.org/monarchmadness.