Thursday, October 13, 2016

Monarch group hires coordinator

Jason Jenkins

New position provides dedicated leadership to Missourians for Monarchs Collaborative

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever recently named Jason Jenkins as the organization’s new monarch & pollinator coordinator in the state of Missouri. Collaborating with a statewide coalition of public and private interests, Jenkins will work to increase and sustain habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators through citizen involvement and seek ways for partners, communities and agencies to coordinate similar efforts.

“We’re excited to join together with more than 30 partners in the Missourians for Monarchs Collaborative to make this position a reality and develop new opportunities for increasing overall pollinator habitat in the state,” said Elsa Gallagher, Pheasant Forever and Quail Forever’s Missouri statewide quail coordinator. “This position is the first of its kind in the nation created to directly address the issue of pollinator conservation. Jason’s extensive communications experience and diverse skillset, combined with his enthusiasm for conservation and love of the outdoors, make him the ideal person to lead and implement our statewide monarch and pollinator conservation plan.”

During the past two decades, monarch butterfly populations have declined by an estimated 90 percent due to factors including habitat loss and a lack of milkweed plants, the sole host plant used by the monarch during its egg and larval stages. Missourians for Monarchs formed in 2015 as a statewide initiative to address monarch and pollinator conservation in the state. In August 2016, Collaborative partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding committed to creating and maintaining 19,000 acres of pollinator habitat annually for the next 20 years.

The Collaborative includes conservation and agricultural organizations, state and federal agencies as well as utilities, agribusinesses and cooperatives. Funding partners for the Coordinator include the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Missouri Department of Conservation, MFA Incorporated, Monsanto and Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.

"For conservationists, few issues are of as great a concern as that of declining pollinator populations,” said Jason Jenkins, monarch and pollinator coordinator for the Missourians for Monarchs Collaborative. “These insects serve a vital role in our food production systems and sustain our native plant communities. The consequences of losing these species are disastrous. I’m looking forward to becoming an ambassador and advocate for the monarch while we increase and sustain habitat for all pollinators in Missouri."

An award-winning writer, photographer and videographer, Jenkins brings more than 15 years of communications experience to this new position. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Missouri, focusing on fisheries and wildlife management. He previously worked for both University of Missouri Extension and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, where he served as managing editor for Rural Missouri magazine. Jenkins is an avid hunter, angler and outdoorsman who relishes sharing his passion for the natural world with his wife, Allison, and three children, Aiden, Carly and Ashlyn. For more information about Missourians for Monarchs, contact Jason Jenkins at 573-301-4187 or

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