Partnering to conserve the monarch butterfly migration

Pollinator Habitat Demonstration Sites in Agricultural Areas

In collaboration with MJV, partners have begun to install a series of monarch habitat demonstration sites in one of the areas that needs it most: the agricultural Midwest. With support from the New York Community Trust, we are creating monarch conservation demonstration sites on six farms in three key Corn Belt states, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Not only does the project restore quality habitat for monarchs, but more importantly it will educate and engage private landowners in long term conservation. We are partnering with local farms of various types and working with them to create plots of pollinator habitat, providing concrete examples that pollinator conservation is an accessible, successful and beneficial activity for farmers to engage in.

The main project goals are to:

  • Design and install six high-quality monarch habitat demonstration sites in the Midwest and share lessons broadly with farmers and other land managers;
  • Produce print and online resources to encourage landowners and managers to adopt practices that will help monarch populations recover;
  • Host field days and a workshop to train landowners in monarch conservation techniques, using Farm Bill conservation funding; and
  • Develop model seed mixes and determine significant gaps in the commercial availability of key species of milkweed and nectar plants that are compatible with row crop production.

The installation process at each of our six locations is well underway. The Xerces Society, Tallgrass Prairie Center, and the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab are facilitating the habitat restoration and outreach in these states. Acres of diverse pollinator-friendly habitat will be planted, and grassroots involvement in planting parties and field demonstration days will engage local communities throughout 2015 and 2016.

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