A close up of two monarch caterpillars on a leaf.

Monarch Migration is Underway!

Staff from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences volunteered their time last fall to help Shelley Moore, a Park Attendant at Walnut Creek Wetland Park, complete her capstone community project by planting a new pollinator area at the park. Over two dozen native nectar and host plants were planted to provide food and habitat for monarchs and other pollinators. Less than six months later, their efforts were rewarded with the discovery of monarch caterpillar larvae on the swamp milkweed. These caterpillars are likely the descendants of adult monarchs that migrated from this area to Mexico last year.

Monarchs are the only butterfly known to make an annual two-way migration. Because they cannot survive in our cold winter weather, monarchs found in Eastern North America migrate to the oyamel fir forests in the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico each fall. There are up to four generations of monarchs each year, so larvae that will feast on these same milkweed plants in late summer may be the grandchildren of the caterpillars we see now. Those late-summer monarchs will be the ones to make the long autumn journey back to Mexico for the winter, where they’ll huddle together for warmth until early spring next year when they migrate back to our area.

Walnut Creek Wetland Park is one of several Raleigh park locations certified by Monarch Watch as a habitat for these beautiful pollinators. Learn more about the City’s Wildlife and Pollinator Program and visit pollinator garden locations




Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson Street
Raleigh, NC 27610