A Monarch Worth Protecting

by David Roten

Fragile, beautiful and fleeting, butterflies speak to us of our own existence. Lighter than air, they appear for a moment and then are gone, we know not where. 

Butterflies for eons have delighted children and poets alike. Their story of humble beginnings and glorious transformation inspires hope that we, too, can change and grow into something wonderful and good. It is a story worth telling, and the butterfly is a living, breathing reminder of its message. 

Two of Newton County’s finest people are on a mission to ensure the story continues to be told through the North American monarch, a species of butterfly currently threatened with extinction (see full story, page 8). Other pollinator species are also endangered for various reasons— a cause for grave concern, as pollination is essential to the reproduction of most edible plants. The issues are complex, but there are steps that can be taken to improve the monarch’s chances for survival. 

Even seemingly small factors can have a big impact. This is precisely the assertion of the “Butterfly Effect,” which, simply stated, is the theory that a small change in one place can have lasting effects elsewhere. Personal experience and empirical data seem to validate that claim, especially when that small change is multiplied into many small changes. Such is the hope of monarch butterfly conservation groups and individuals like David Waller and his wife, Connie. “We’re doing it one monarch at a time and one person at a time,” she said. 

If something as light and airy as a butterfly can help feed the human body and soul, is it such a stretch to believe humankind could make a difference and perhaps return the favor? 

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