WICHITA, Kan. We are in the peak of monarch butterfly migration, and Kansas is a major stopping point for the insect as millions travel from Canada to Mexico.
This year, there's a fear the population is half of what it was last year.
Tammy Decker is a butterfly enthusiast. Her love for the monarch began in the 1980's. Back then, she was a teacher and would use them to teach her students.
"They would come back years later, 'Do you still have your monarchs? Can I see them?'" Said Decker.
Her home's theme is the butterfly.
"Friends, family, that's the gift they always give me, butterfly stuff," said Decker.
Now that she's retired, raising, finding and tagging butterflies is a full-time job.
"It's a chore keeping all the leaves fresh," said Decker.
Over the years she's tagged a lot of butterflies. Butterfly enthusiasts in Mexico have found three of her tagged monarchs.
Last November, she visited there and crossed that trip off her bucket list.
"You ride a horse part way up the mountain, then you get off and hike the rest of it and then they're all up in the fir trees. It's just so awesome. It's touching," said Decker.
But Decker fears others won't get to make that trip in the future and see the millions of monarchs.
"They're just everywhere," said Decker. "When you rode your horse in the meadow, they just flew up from everywhere."
She says the monarch population is dying off. She says some estimate upwards of 60 percent. A freeze last year in Mexico killed a lot of them.
Others are in danger, she says, because people are killing the milkweed, the plant monarchs use to lay their eggs.
But she hopes her efforts, and the efforts of others will help the monarch thrive.
That's likely one of the wishes she makes each time she releases one back into the wild, although we won't know for sure, because she wouldn't say.
"You're not supposed to tell," Decker said with a smile. "It won't come true."
The University of Kansas has a non-profit that focuses on the monarch butterfly, it's habitat and fall migration.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Monarch Watch.