A monarch butterfly cozies up to milkweed in a Chicago yard. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Aster Hasle, a conservation scientist at the Field Museum, said, “Our role in the Midwest is to build that population back up. There is a lot that we can do here to provide habitat that’s going to help.”

Illinois’ new universal specialty license plate design, with monarch butterfly decal. (Illinois Secretary of State / Facebook)

After a seven-year wait, the state of Illinois will finally begin issuing monarch butterfly specialty license plates, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced Thursday.

Monarch on milkweed. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Mexico’s highly anticipated annual count of over-wintering monarchs was released Tuesday and showed a slight increase from the prior year, but there’s still a long way to go to ensure the butterfly’s survival, conservationists said.

Monarch butterflies roosting in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. (Courtesy of Ron Kapala)

Large numbers of monarch butterflies are making a pit stop at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie during their annual fall migration. That’s just one of the ways to enjoy and explore nature this weekend.

(WTTW News)

The nonprofit El Valor has raised thousands of monarchs, and each year the community comes together for a butterfly release. 

The Route 66 Monarch Flyway combines ecotourism with conservation to save two endangered entities: the monarch butterfly and small towns. (Visit Litchfield Illinois / Facebook)

The Route 66 Monarch Flyway in Illinois aims to breath new life into small towns while providing critical habitat for the imperiled butterfly.

A monarch butterfly on butterfly milkweed. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region / Flickr)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the monarch butterfly warrants inclusion on the endangered species list but due to a lack of resources is being wait-listed behind higher-priority plants and animals.

In this June 2, 2019, file photo, a fresh monarch butterfly rests on a Swedish Ivy plant soon after emerging in Washington. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster, File)

Trump administration officials are expected to say this week whether the monarch butterfly, a colorful and familiar backyard visitor now caught in a global extinction crisis, should receive federal designation as a threatened species.

Monarch butterflies migrate en masse, but they aren’t social creatures, scientists say. (Mageephoto / Pixabay)

Traveling more than 2,000 miles every year, the migration journey of monarch butterflies links the United States and Mexico in a way no trade agreement or cultural exchange ever could.

Monarch butterflies have started their 2,000-mile migration south to Mexico. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The annual migration of monarch butterflies is currently at its peak in the Chicago area. Several roosting sites have been spotted around town as the creatures use the city as a pit stop on their 2,000-mile journey to Mexico.

A monarch butterfly feeds on milkweed, which is the sole food source for monarch caterpillars. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Scores of Chicagoans have planted milkweed — the monarch’s host plant — in their yards and other green spaces, but how effective are those efforts? The Field Museum is recruiting citizen scientists to find out.

A monarch butterfly on butterfly milkweed. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region / Flickr)

The University of Illinois at Chicago will administer a groundbreaking agreement that encourages energy companies and transportation entities, among others, to voluntarily convert right-of-way land to pollinator-friendly habitat.

A healthy monarch butterfly spotted in downtown Chicago in 2007. (Greg Robbins / Flickr)

This week, a number of dead monarch butterflies were found along the lakefront. The sight alarmed some members of the public who spotted the insects. But one local expert says it’s par for the course as the butterflies retreat south for the winter.

Monarchs are in trouble, despite efforts by volunteers and organizations across the United States to nurture the beloved butterfly. And the Trump administration’s new order weakening the Endangered Species Act could well make things worse.

(skeeze / Pixabay)

New research by University of Chicago scientists shows that despite the positive intentions of conservationists who promote captive breeding for monarchs, the practice may not be producing the desired effect.

(Courtesy The Field Museum)

Chicago and other U.S. cities could provide nearly one-third of the milkweed plant scientists estimate is needed to save monarch butterflies, whose populations have plummeted in recent decades.