About IC Monarchs 

An image of the Monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterfly populations have declined by more than 90 percent in the past two decades.

Iowa City is committed to creating an environment that will allow monarchs to thrive and rehabilitate during the summer months, and is taking several steps to help support the monarch butterfly. 

View our story map and learn more about the monarch species and the ongoing efforts to help in Iowa City by clicking the links below:

Iowa City Monarch Festival 

Iowa City Monarch Festival banner

Save the date! The 2018 Iowa City Monarch Festival will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26 at Terry Trueblood Park Lodge, 579 McCollister Blvd, Iowa City.

All are invited to view caterpillars, chrysalis and beautiful, orange adult Monarchs, as well as a variety of nature and nonprofit exhibits. Dr. Donald Lewis, Professor and Extension Entomologist, Iowa State University Department of Entomology, will be there of answer questions and offer his expertise. 

Kids can enjoy crafts, face painting, and a special snack that represents the butterfly's lifecycle. Snap a pic in the photo booth dressed as a Monarch or caterpillar, and hop on the Iowa City Bookmobile to browse monarch themed books. Milkweed seeds will also be available for free to participants; first come, first served. Let your friends know you'll be there,  RSVP to the Facebook event page

If you are interested in hosting a table at this event - fill out the vendor form to reserve a table. 

View photos from previous Monarch Festivals on Facebook! 

Monarchs and More preview event 

In advance of the festival, attend Monarchs and More, a conversation with Nathan Brockman, Curator of the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, at the Iowa City Public Library Meeting, Room A, 123 S. Linn St. RSVP to the Facebook event for updates and reminders. 



Local Monarch Initiatives 

Milkweed Distribution 

A key action in Iowa City is the planting of milkweed to help combat the declining population of monarch butterflies. 

Monarchs lay their eggs in milkweed during the summer months. When the caterpillars hatch they eat the leaves. The City of Iowa City has planted its own milkweed, while also giving away common milkweed for people to place in their own yards and gardens to help the monarchs. 

An image of common milkweed.
To learn how to grow milkweed in your backyard, view our "How to Grow Milkweed" guide. 

The City also supports monarch waystations that provide milkweed for monarchs at Wetherby, Hickory Hill and Hunter's Run Parks as well as the Eastside Recycling Center

Mayor's Monarch Pledge 

Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton signed the National Wildlife Federation's Mayors' Monarch Pledge on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 to help raise awareness about declining Monarch populations. This pledge indicates a commitment from the City to help rehabilitate the Monarch population.

Local Monarch Research 

A team of students from Cornell College in Mount Vernon is conducting research at Waterworks Prairie Park in Iowa City.

They are working to understand how prairies and monarch butterflies interact. Dr. Tammy Mildenstein, of Cornell College, has designed a research program to learn about the relationship between prairie and monarch reproductive success. The goal is to provide managers and caretakers of parks, prairies and other outdoor spaces with research findings to increase suitability of milkweed populations for monarch reproduction and survival. With careful observation and thoughtful land stewardship, the team aims to revitalize the iconic monarch butterfly population. 

To learn more about the research, watch an informational video from Cornell College. 

Monarch Resources & Activities