There's a new move to save the declining Monarch Butterfly population in the Valley, and the plant that helps keep them alive.

The monarch butterfly population is on a rapid decline and it is because the milkweed plant that is essential to their life cycle is disappearing.

Pesticides, construction, and modern farming practices are just some of the reasons why milkweed is hard to find. The seed pod is where the butterflies lay their eggs, mate and eat.

The Mahoning County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) is asking area residents to collect and donate milkweed seed pods to help spread the plant throughout the state.

Milkweed can grow naturally in open areas with direct sunlight such as farm fields, roadsides, or around gardens. If you don not live near open meadows, planting seeds around your home is the best way to welcome monarch butterflies.

Kathleen Vrable-Bryan, district administrator at the Mahoning SWCD, said the pods should not be picked if they are green. 

To gather seed pods, MSWCD says you should pick them when they are gray or brown and store them in a cool, dry place until you can deliver them to the SWCD office at 850 Industrial Rd. in Youngstown. Any donations are asked to be put in the bucket provided at the building's entrance. 

Pods can be dropped off between 8am and 4pm, and should be stored in a paper bag and labeled with the date they were picked and the county in which they were collected. The collection program will start on September 1st, and continue through November. 

For more information, you can contact the SWCD officer at (330) 740-7995.