PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Fall in Arizona is butterfly season! But you might notice you're seeing less and less of them.

Now there's a way you can help turn that around and be part of the effort to save the monarchs.

Monarch butterflies spend their winters in Utah and California and often stop in Arizona during their migration. While in Arizona, they fuel up on flowers with high-nectar content.

"We've been lucky this year in Arizona that we've been able to track monarchs coming through Arizona, at the Grand Canyon, in Prescott, Wilcox and all the way up through Utah," said Gail Morris of the Southwest Monarch Study. "As monarchs are migrating this time of year, they need to refuel on a lot of flowers that have nectar in them, and that is something everyone can do in their own backyard.

Morris, along with Arizona Game and Fish, is encouraging people to plant milkweed this fall. Milkweed is the only plant a monarch will lay eggs on. While milkweed is beneficial to butterflies, it is poisonous to pets and people when eaten. If you can't plant milkweed, consider plants like sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias, which butterflies use for nectar.

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The fuel those plants provide is more important than ever since the monarch population is dangerously low thanks to weather extremes, pesticides and other factors that scientists are currently studying.

Planting fuel for their migration could turn your yard into a butterfly oasis over the next couple of weeks when the monarchs are expected to move through Arizona.


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