Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Let's Get Started NOW! 

The concept of Missourians for Monarchs—a concerted statewide effort to create monarch waystations throughout the flyway—has been embraced faster than anyone could have imagined! 

At last count, around 45 Master Gardener and Master Naturalist chapters have enthusiastically joined the effort, and Project Leader Bob Lee is still making calls. 

When it was conceived, Missourians for Monarchs set a strategy that focused on ensuring sufficient milkweed and nectar plants to support a 2016 mass planting. “But what can we do NOW?” That’s the question many partners are asking. 

Below are actions that partners could undertake over the next several months. 

Request vegetation and other maps of your region or area from Tom Nagle at jthomasnagle@sbcglobal.net.  Tom is the mapping team lead for Missourians for Monarchs.

Select sites in your region where your group can plant monarch habitat.
Monarch Watch provides a good guide to planting waystations: http://www.monarchwatch.org/waystations/waystation_guide.pdf
Missourians for Monarchs can assist with site selection if you wish 
-- Contact Leslie Limberglllimberg@aol.com

Inventory milkweed and existing pollinator habitat in your area.

Note the GPS coordinates (or map locations) of both existing and planned habitats and communicate locations to Tom Nagle.  Tom is constructing a map of monarch habitat (existing and proposed) so that together we can ensure sufficient waystations throughout the state.

Participate in citizen science monitoring of larva and adults.

  • For Larva:  Go to the University of Minnesota Monarch Larva monitoring project website http://www.mlmp.org/ to sign up. 

  • Data from the network of monitoring organizations is being compiled by http://monarchnet.org, which now has an interesting data page.

Budget to purchase milkweed and nectar plants for 2016 or do local fundraising.  Grow Native! has a useful resource guide for buying native plants. http://grownative.org/resource-guide/ 

Plan to collect milkweed seeds this fall and propagate plants for 2016.  Monarch Watch provides information about collecting and growing milkweed http://monarchlab.org/biology-and-research/monarch-rearing/finding-collecting-and-growing-milkweed  Missourians for Monarchs can also provide assistance—Contact Phil Rahn at missouriansformonarchs@gmail.com

Educate your organization and the general public about monarchs, their plight, and how to help restore populations. Missourians for Monarchs has a list of speakers willing to present on a variety of topics related to monarchs.  To schedule a speaker contact Peg Meyer at missouriansformonarchs@gmail.com.

 Write to local utilities and highway departments to encourage them to consider roadside and right of way plantings for pollinators. Chert Glades Master Naturalist Val Frankoski has already written to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) asking them to consider monarch habitat. Val noted that, “Even submitting a question asking what they are doing along N/S interstates to support Monarch migration could help grease the wheel of progress.” (Enjoy Val’s post, “Invite a Monarch to Lunch”on the Chert Glades Nature Blog http://chertglades.org/?p=1764

Raise and release monarchs. It’s been estimated that less than 2% of monarch eggs survive to an adult monarch butterfly, primarily due to various predators or diseases. Raising monarchs under protected conditions can significantly increase this success rate. Many sites provide information about rearing monarchs, including: monarchwatch.org; monarchlab.org; texasbutterflyranch.com; learnaboutmonarchs.com. A good book is: How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak (2012). If you have questions or need assistance contact Dan Getman (NE Missouri) or Joyce Oberle (Greater St. Louis area) at Missouriansformonarchs@gmail.com

NOTE:  We are looking for other individuals who rear and release monarchs who are willing to share their expertise.  Let us know who you are!  Contact Lee Phillion at Missouriansformonarchs@gmail.com

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Working as Partners

Last weekend (May 1-3), around 200 Missouri Master Naturalists enjoyed three days of Advanced Training in Springfield, Missouri. Congratulations to this year’s host chapter—Springfield Plateau—for a terrific educational experience.

During the weekend, around 20 representatives from the statewide chapters met to discuss how Missourians for Monarchs would share best practices, seeds and other resources to achieve the goal of expanding habitat for monarchs migrating through Missouri. 

The enthusiasm and impressive expertise at propagating milkweed and rearing monarchs among partners coming on board is astounding. In future blog posts, we will highlight the many ways various Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, Garden Clubs and others are contributing to monarch recovery.

Joining the partnership is as easy as sending an email to missouriansformonarchs@gmail.com and asking to be included on the mailing list.  There is no hard and fast commitment.

What is generally expected of Missourians for Monarchs partners?

Set your own goals (in square feet if known) for planting milkweed and nectar habitats.

Let Missourians for Monarchs know (GPS coordinates or map locations) where you intend to plant…along with the locations of existing habitat in your region. (So that a statewide map can be constructed to make sure there are sufficient waystations throughout the flyway.)

Participate in citizen science monitoring.

And, if you wish to do more…

Educate your community about the plight of monarchs.

Enroll others in planting milkweed and nectar plants.

If you can, collect milkweed seed in the fall.

Encourage local nurseries to grow more milkweed.

Advocate with local electric coops and hiway departments to plant along roadsides.

Share your progress via photos and emails to Missourians for Monarchs.

What is the value of partnership? 

Partnering enables sharing best practices for selecting sites and for planting and growing milkweed.

Partnering enables economies of scale for plants and seed purchases.

Funders look favorably on a common goal that unites and is supported by responsible, tested organizations.  The more funding received, the more seeds and plants will be made available to partners.

Partnering is a way to enable those who wish to “get started” with a monarch focus to come up to speed quickly.  Help is a phone call away!

Shared resources (brochures, displays, teaching kits) can be passed around to organizations. No “wheel re-invention” by every group.

There is the potential to share the cost of signage to indicate monarch habitat (no mow zones), which can save money for everyone.

Many voices have a greater chance to bring about change in hiway or power right of way mowing practices.

How will Missourians for Monarchs serve its Partners?

Channel pertinent information to partners according to their interests and goals

Provide assistance with site selection, mapping, seed sourcing and growing, and with rearing and monitoring monarchs.

Provide assistance with education outreach (materials and speakers).

Maintain statewide maps of opportunity areas and planted areas to ensure appropriate coverage

New understandings about monarch biology gained by partners will be collected by the Missourians for Monarchs Science Advisor and shared with national partners

Seek grants to purchase seeds, plants, and signage to be shared with partners.

Keep partners “in the loop” via a monthly e-newsletter, Facebook posts, and this blog.

Highlight and draw media attention to collective and individual achievements via press releases.

Please send questions or comments to missouriansformonarchs@gmail.com or comment to this blog.