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Louisville Zoo Begins Working with Community Partners to Develop Critical Monarch Butterfly Habitat

Seven Counties Services and Bellarmine University are Partners in New Project

In an effort to create additional critical habitat for monarch butterfly conservation and other native pollinators, the Louisville Zoo has become a program partner of the AZA SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) North American Monarch butterfly program. Since 2016, the Zoo has been active in monarch butterfly conservation and, in 2017, became a Certified Monarch Waystation through

This year, the Zoo created the ‘Monarchs and Milkweed Pollinator Habitat Project’ to provide an opportunity for people to develop a connection with nature through habitat development and have a direct impact on the conservation of the monarch butterfly. The project will provide educational resources to those in our community. Future efforts will encourage families and organizations to plant their own pollinator habitats to support conservation efforts.

As part of this program, the Zoo has joined with two community partners for Fall 2021 to plant and develop pollinator habitats on their campuses.

A pollinator garden was planted Friday, October 8, 2021, at the Seven Counties Services at 2225 West Broadway (images included). A garden will be planted at Bellarmine University at 2001 Newburg Rd. on October 16, 2021, from 10 a.m. to noon.

All community partner habitats developed are monarch waystations certified by Monarch Watch, and are designed with milkweed plants appropriate for each site.

The leading cause of the population decline of monarch butterflies has been the continuous loss of habitat since the 1960s, with an 80% decline since the 1990s. In the U.S., this is due to the conversion of habitat into agricultural land, the use of herbicides to remove milkweed plants, and pesticides to control other insects that destroy agricultural crops. Monarch caterpillars require milkweed plants to feed on in order to complete their life cycle.

“We’re excited about our partnership with the Louisville Zoo to create a monarch waystation at our Child & Family West clinic,” said Abby Drane, President & CEO, Seven Counties Services / Bellewood & Brooklawn. “We appreciate this unique way that we can contribute to a local conservation campaign to preserve the monarch migration cycle. It also serves as an educational and therapeutic tool for the children who spend time on our playground at this clinic.”

“A Monarch Watch Certified pollinator garden is not just a wonderful project from the standpoint of expanding the habitat for important pollinators like bees and butterflies, but it enhances our campus environment and programming, too,” said Dr. Kate Bulinski, associate professor of Environmental Science. “We’re going to be using this pollinator garden for educational purposes for our environmental science courses as well as for student research projects. This is part of a broader effort to make our campus more pollinator-friendly. Additionally, this year we launched a new beekeeping club. We’ll be starting a few hives this spring at the Bellarmine Farm with plans for planting additional pollinator gardens in the years to come.”


The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).