FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The Monarch butterfly is one of the most commonly known butterflies in the country.
But this year, they've been a rare sight.
Some environmental educators and naturalists are saying 2013 is showing record low numbers of Monarchs and it's raising concern.
For environmental educator Ron Divelbiss, this is the first time in his 30 years of experience he hasn't seen the Monarch in northern Indiana.
Karie Harding, a teacher and Monarch enthusiast, is concerned about the big decline and said there are several possible culprits.
Many experts believe the Monarch's population has dropped significantly over the last few years because of severe drought across much of North America.
Depletion of their home habitats from illegal logging in Mexico is also playing a big role.
"There's a lot of illegal logging down there," Harding said. "That, mixed with our droughts, mixed with the habitat loss in U.S. and Canada is probably messing with the numbers big time."
Also, most people, including road crews will mow down milkweed which takes away a young Monarchs only home.
Naturalists said you can raise Monarchs yourself to help increase the population.
It's not only helpful, but fun and educational for the whole family!
How can you and your family can help the Monarch population?
It all starts with understanding the butterfly's short life cycle.
The Monarch only lays its eggs on milkweed, a common weed found across much of the U.S. The inside of it's stalk contains a white, milky substance.
The eggs of a Monarch are only about the size of an eye of a needle.
When the egg hatches, a caterpillar emerges. The caterpillar eats the milkweed leaves and grows over the course of a few weeks then forms a chrysalis.
From the chrysalis, an adult Monarch emerges and toward the end of summer will migrate south to Mexico.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the Monarch's life cycle, you can get started.
All you need is a jar, container, or aquarium with holes for air circulation.
Find some milkweed around your house, or local park, and check under the underside of the leaves for the very tiny egg. CLICK HERE for a picture of all of the Monarch's life stages on the official Monarch butterfly website.
Detach the leaf from the plant and add it to your container.
Once the caterpillar grows, it will need many more leaves for food. Detach more leaves and toss them into the container so it has plenty to eat.
Cleaning out the container occasionally is also a big part in keeping the Monarch healthy.
The caterpillar will grow significantly with time and eventually form it's chrysalis.
Over the course of a week or two, the chrysalis will start tuning black and the wings of the adult butterfly will be seen.
The butterfly will emerge and be ready for flight after a few hours. Be very gentle with the Monarch during this whole process as they are very delicate creatures.
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