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

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