Tag Archives: butterfly habitat

Phoenix Audubon Center Trip

Maddie Harris

Community Outreach Project

I attended the Phoenix Audubon Center trip. We went to the Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix. While we were there, we were split into groups with several other volunteers and asked to plant Milkweed and Fairy Duster plants. These plants are among the only plants utilized by the monarch butterfly. Interestingly, the Rio Salado lays right in the migration path of the monarch butterfly, making it a very important breeding ground. It was pretty manual work, but it was cool to see the sizes of the rocks we dug up and the way groups of strangers could come together to so something good for our environment. We were also asked to go down into the riverbed and dig up an invasive grass. That part was crazy! We had to dig up the root balls that had grown around river rocks and entangled themselves in the roots of other plants. The grass itself grew so thick and so tall we had the hardest time seeing the bases of the grass clusters. It was pretty fun to peel back the plants and throw my body weight onto them to keep them out of the way. The ground under the grasses was cool, too; the dirt filled with slender roots peeled away in layers. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the project. I loved the team I worked with and the way I felt when it was all said and done. It is definitely something I would do again.


Nectar for Pollinators

Jocelyn Huerta

I had the chance to go to the Rio Salado Audubon Center field trip. I had fun going out and helping the environment by planting fairy dusters. A fairy duster is a plant that provides nectar for pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It’s really important that these plants are around so that these animals can eat and so they can also go and pollinate other plants. I enjoyed being out there digging holes, and removing plants that weren’t supposed to be there in order to maintain a healthy environment. My favorite part was seeing a monarch butterfly go to one of the many plants that was planted for them and enjoying the nectar it provided.

Place Plants and Remove Invasive Species

Jessica Hicks

Audubon Trip

Recently we went to the Rio Salado Audubon Center to place plants and remove invasive weeds. We began by planting milkweed plants, the sole host of the monarch butterfly. The area is in the migration path of monarch butterflies and because the area suffered a fire and lost much of the milkweed population, we replaced some of these plants. Later, we went further into the riverbed to remove some of the buffelgrass that was growing there. Buffelgrass is an invasive species of grass native to Africa which has no natural consumer to keep it under control. It is harming the local environment, so it needs to be removed as much as possible. We spent time digging up all the buffelgrass we could see in the area and bagging it to be taken away. I participated in this project because not many people go out to help their community with physical labor anymore, so I was happy to lend a hand and get the work done. I felt that this was a great project to participate in because it’s very important to take care of our environment, and I felt great afterward knowing that I helped in the community.

First Time Planting

Tamira Howard

Going to Audubon was a lot of fun, we were able to plant plants, and pull out some bull grass. It was my first time planting, it was a great experience also very funny. Because while we were making the holes to put the plants in, there was huge rocks. These rocks were so big, that they took up most of the space, because of that when we pulled them out it made the holes bigger. So before we inserted the plants we had to put some sand in, so that way the plant wouldn’t be so deep into the ground. Then when we were pulling out the bull grass, they were a hassle. Overall, i really enjoyed going to Audubon and having to plant for the first time with my friends, while also making new ones. It’s a great way to get out and help nature by planting much needed plants to make sure the monarch butterflies are fed, and the hummingbirds.

Audubon Summary

Levi Wakeham

Audubon Summary:

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the Audubon service project where me and other SNHS members were able to help dig up and plant new plants in an effort to help the migrating monarch butterfly have a safe place to stay during their journey of migration. It was a great experience to be able to go out there and plant various plants, including milkweed plants. We were also given the task of pulling out large weeds that were harming other nearby plants in the area, which we all worked on as a team to complete, pulling up one weed at a time. Overall, the trip was a great success and was definitely worthwhile, I liked this service project especially because we were able to do something great for the environment and have fun while doing so.

Butterfly Garden Habitat

Every fall, the Rio Salado Audubon Center has Saturday conservation work days. These work days range from making owl habitats to cleaning up trash in the Rio Salado waterways.  On October 21st, nine of the YHS Science NHS members participated in a work day to help make better habitat for monarch butterflies.


Maddie, Fern, Tamira, and Levi planting fairy dusters

Monarch butterflies are a species of butterfly that live and migrate through Arizona.  They feed on nectar and lay their eggs on desert milkweed.  Desert milkweed is the only plant the caterpillars will feed on, so it is an important plant for monarchs in the Sonoran desert.  The Arizona Audubon Society wants to help monarchs in Arizona by planting more of the milkweed as well as other nectaring plants that the adult monarch butterflies can feed on.  To achieve their goals, they asked volunteers to work in their butterfly garden planting desert milkweed, fairy duster, and other plants that will help butterflies.


Armed with shovels, picks, and plants, we joined other volunteers in digging holes, pulling out rocks, and planting plants to help attracted butterflies to the area.  While the work was difficult, it was ultimately rewarding when one of the center employees pointed out a monarch butterfly at one of the newly planted plants.


Pulling out buffelgrass

Once we finished with the butterfly garden, we also helped in pulling out invasive buffelgrass from the Rio Salado river area.  Buffelgrass is native to Africa and was brought to the Americans as food for livestock.  The problem with buffelgrass is that it out competes our native desert plants and is taking over many parts of the Sonoran Desert.  To help get rid of this pest plant, we took out shovels and picks and pulled them out by the roots.

We had a fun time at the Arizona Audubon Center helping native desert wildlife and their habitat.  Thanks to the students who attended and who worked so hard to conserve Arizona wildlife!


Standing: Fern, Maddie, Kiara, Jocelyn, Ms. Doskocil David, Levi, Tamira; Kneeling: Jessica, Takila