WEST HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With their bright orange wings and bold black borders, the monarch butterfly is a captivating sight to see. But you may have noticed there have been fewer sightings than in previous years.
That's because the monarch butterfly is now an endangered species.
"My grandkids are going to see the western monarch butterfly. I'm not going to stop until that happens," said Land Relief Grants Program Manger Ethan Walsh.
Ethan Walsh is a senior at Cal State Northridge and he has a passion for nature. He's been working to ensure the future of the endangered Western monarch butterfly.
He and his mother Christina created a nonprofit called Land Relief. They've partnered with a Native American tribe to help increase habitats for monarchs and other pollinators.
"I've worked with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians for almost a decade now," said Land Relief Founder Christina Walsh. "We discovered how much milkweed was everywhere on the reservation and came up with the idea of what if we can move it and add it so that this very large piece of land would also be a sustainable resource for the monarch."
Milkweed is the only plant monarch butterflies will feed off of. The Walsh's efforts to plant milkweed and other nectar plants on the ancestral lands have earned them a $175,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as well an additional $245,000 from the tribe.
"This is a perfect opportunity to create a habitat that we know will be environmentally safe and sustainable and we know that will be protected and nurtured," Ethan Walsh said.
Ethan and his mom are working closely with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to identify ideal areas on the land where milkweed will thrive. Their ultimate goal is to collect seven pounds of seeds before they begin the planting process.
"Our goal is to plant so that we have 200 plants per acre on 150 acres," Christina Walsh said.
The Walsh family says they hope their efforts will help bring awareness to the declining monarch population. They also encourage others to do their part and plant milkweed in their backyard.
"You can sign up on our website at landrelief.org. We'll send you milkweed seeds and show you how it's done," Christina Walsh said.
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