ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - James Madison's Montpelier is doing what it can to help out monarch butterflies. Some special plantings will ensure these beautiful butterflies can thrive at the historic estate.

On Friday, 12 volunteers planted more than 350 milkweed plants to help the monarch butterfly population thrive and continue James Madison's legacy of conservation. More than 20 acres of the wildlife meadows are now ready to help the dying population.

"Monarch butterflies are critically endangered so any milkweed we can plant to help them survive through migration is beneficial," said Montpelier's curator of horticulture Allyson Walley.

Caterpillars eat the leaves of the milkweed plants, which is why Chris Hawk from the Piedmont Environmental Council says the grant from Monarch Watch to support the planting effort is important.

"The rant is helping Montpelier to extend this field down towards the swamp area so that the monarch butterflies will have additional lands in which they can lay their eggs," Hawk said. "We were ecstatic to hear that Montpelier is pushing James Madison's ideals of conservation."

Volunteers, like Madlyn Shappell, are helped get the life-saving plants in the ground.

"It really does make a difference even in a place like Montpelier, its not just about the historical side of being James Madison's home, but its also about the conversation that we can do on such a large piece of land," Shappell said.

If you want to plant milkweed at home, Walley says to make sure it's the right kind.

"Often in the garden centers, you'll find they sell tropical milkweed which is detrimental to the help of the monarchs that migrate to our area," Walley said.

The grant will help volunteers plant more than 8,000 milkweed plants. If you are interested in learning more or volunteering, click here.