SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Members of the South Portland community are working to beautify a piece of preserved land while strengthening the environment.

Residents and members of the South Portland, Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club and the South Portland Conservation Commission have begun revamping the Mill Cove Preserve, a piece of land donated to the city by the local Pope family years ago. The group tore up the invasive Japanese knotweed, and Saturday morning they began planting milkweed, a native plant, to attract and feed monarch butterfly caterpillars in an effort to bolster the butterfly's threatened population.

"Across the globe, people are making efforts to plant more milkweed to increase the habitat that's been removed," said organizer, Dan Hogan. "This is our one section, our corner of the world to bring some more butterflies back."

The group plans to turn the space into a nature park for people to enjoy and appreciate the surrounding wildlife and view over the bay.