The Monarch Joint Venture and U.S. Forest Service International Programs are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 MJV Partner Grant Program. Innovative, collaborative project proposals were solicited from MJV partners for conservation projects to be carried out between January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023. $400,000 was allocated to support actions outlined in the 2021 Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan. The Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan, updated regularly by the MJV partnership, identifies priority actions for monarch conservation in the U.S. Eighteen projects were chosen that will support monarch habitat creation and enhancements, education, and science across the United States.
"We're excited that this partner support program is back in action. Several amazing projects have taken shape as a result of this program in the past, and we're thrilled to again offer this opportunity to help our partners implement high-priority conservation efforts," says Wendy Caldwell, MJV Executive Director.
Find out more about this year’s projects below, and visit this page for a full list of all MJV-funded projects.
Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund, Seed a Legacy ($20,000)
The Seed a Legacy pollinator program is designed to improve pollinator health and habitat. This unique program provides high-quality pollinator habitat seed mixtures specifically designed for each state and region, and has expanded to include twelve states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund works with private landowners, businesses, corporate campuses, community sites, and solar sites to create customized pollinator seed mixtures and management plans for each site. They also provide one-on-one technical assistance with cooperators for proper site preparation, planting, management plans, and long-term success management practices.
Metro Blooms, Lawns to Legumes ($40,000)
In 2019, the Lawns to Legumes program was launched by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and Metro Blooms to raise awareness
of the rusty patched bumble bee and other at-risk pollinator species and provide residents with resources and grants to install high-quality habitat in their yards. With MJV funding, Lawns to Legumes will incorporate specific monarch conservation elements in their educational programming, technical resources, and additional individual support grants. These efforts will facilitate the installation of monarch habitat and forage plantings within the North Central region, a critical area for monarch butterflies that migrate south to overwintering sites in Mexico each fall.
Native Plant Society of Texas, The I-35 Monarch Waystation Rest Stop Project & Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas Garden Grant Program ($10,000)
Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) partnered with Texas Department of Transportation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to design, fund, install and
maintain four monarch waystations at rest areas along the I-35 corridor. The waystations include hundreds of native nectar plants and milkweeds, and volunteers who maintain them also help educate the public when onsite. MJV funding will help replace many of the waystation plants that were lost to an unusual winter storm in February of 2020. Funding from the Partner Grant program will also provide a boost to NPSOT Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas Garden Grant Program. NPSOT provides $400 grants to approved applicants to install monarch habitat where they live.
Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, Restoration of Stopover Habitat and Waystations Across Ohio ($9,960)
In 2022, the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) will work to establish 50 acres of monarch habitat in the state of Ohio. OPHI has shovel-ready habitat projects and commitments from private landowners, parks, soil and water conservation districts, and municipalities. In addition to adding more milkweed stems in Ohio, OPHI will also work with landowners to harvest milkweed pods and redistribute seed across the state. Each completed project will include educational signage, sharing information about monarchs and pollinators.
Xerces Society, Recovering Monarch Butterflies in California:
Habitat Restoration at Overwintering Sites and the First Migratory Stopover Zone ($20,000)
Likely to be the most effective short-term strategy to prevent further decline of the western monarch population, Xerces Society seeks to restore monarch butterfly habitat in early-season breeding areas in California. Their goal includes distributing 150 Monarch and Pollinator Habitat kits over the next two years, with 23 kits being supported from the MJV Partner Grant Program. Kit recipients also receive technical assistance to ensure the kits transform into effective breeding habitat for monarchs.
Pollinator Protection Fund of Laguna Beach, Monarch Butterfly Habitat Across the City of Laguna Beach ($5,264)
With western monarch populations in decline, healthy habitat combined with educational opportunities in coastal California communities is imperative. The Pollinator Protection Fund of Laguna Beach (PPFLB) is working to bring both to their community. PPFLB will be adding a second community garden to their habitat creation resume with the help of funding from the MJV Partner Grant Program. Nearly 500 square feet of monarch and pollinator habitat will be created in Bluebird Park in Laguna Beach, a busy park in the community that is surrounded by eucalyptus trees. In addition to habitat creation, PPFLB will be installing signage to educate visitors on the life cycle of monarch butterflies.
Sand County Foundation, Engaging Youth Through High School Habitat Grants ($48,000)
Recognizing an opportunity to engage youth in habitat restoration through agricultural education programs such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America, the Sand County Foundation has been providing grants to high school educators through their Pollinator Habitat Grant Program since 2017. The grant program helps raise awareness and improve critical thinking about the convergence of food production, wildlife habitat and water quality among youth considering careers in agricultural and environmental sciences. MJV funding will provide Pollinator Habitat Grants to 16 high schools over the next two years, supporting 40% of SCF’s program goal to support a total of 20 schools per year in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Texas.
Cibolo Center for Conservation, Monarch Outreach Initiative ($10,000)
The state insect of Texas will be receiving a boost through an education initiative proposed by the Cibolo Center for Conservation. Cibolo will be working with teachers and students from three schools in San Antonio and Texas Hill Country to create certified monarch waystations on the school campuses. Cibolo will develop monarch- and pollinator-specific curriculum and support teachers in the creation and maintenance of school gardens. Additionally, Cibolo will partner closely with MJV education staff to provide a monarch teacher training program for the three participating schools, and continue to build a professional development program adding teacher training cohorts year after year.
California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, Enabling California RCDs to Engage With Schools in Western Monarch Conservation Through Classroom Visits and Habitat Restoration Projects ($49,032)
A strong relationship between two MJV Partners, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) and the Pollinator Posse, will result in the creation of age-appropriate western monarch and pollinator lessons that RCD’s will teach in California elementary schools. Funding from the MJV Partner Grant Program will support the development of age-appropriate lessons by Pollinator Posse, as well as initial training of four RCDs with strong education programs to pilot the program in local elementary schools. Feedback on the lessons and outreach approach will be incorporated into final materials, and then lessons will be made available to the entire RCD community to be able to seek funding and implement the program in their counties.
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Strategic Monarch Conservation Outreach Initiative ($6,000)
In an effort to help meet goals outlined in the Wisconsin Monarch Conservation Strategy, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (NRFW) is launching a strategic outreach initiative to help ensure the success of habitat goals for the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative. With support from the MJV, NRFW will develop cohesive communications messaging to reach out to participants, supporters, and influencers to inspire people and organizations to take action to bring back the monarch butterfly. A part-time outreach specialist will create and distribute communications content for targeted audiences, leveraging and building from the MJV’s resources and making them specific to the audiences and strategies identified for Wisconsin.
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Monarch & Pollinator Education Programs ($25,680)
The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History (PGMNH) is a regional hub for western monarch conservation interpretation and community science in California. Perfectly positioned on important overwintering and early breeding habitat for western monarchs, the museum plays a central role in providing resources for schools, and training and coordinating docents for the Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary. With funding support from the MJV, PGMNH will develop three education programs for Pre-K and elementary students including full-day teacher education workshops prior to the start of the monarch overwintering season. Additionally, funding will help expand their existing docent training and incorporate current monarch and pollinator research into their materials.
PheasantsForever and Quail Forever, Milkweed in the Classroom & Pollinator Habitat Outreach Program ($40,000)
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever (PF/QF) have been spreading awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators through two successful education programs, the Pollinator Habitat Outreach Program (PHOP), and the Milkweed in the Classroom (MIC) program. The two habitat education programs educate and engage classrooms, youth, families, and communities across the country while establishing and maintaining monarch/pollinator habitat projects. Funding will help bring the PHOP program to 1,500 youth, 300 adults, and create a total of 30 pollinator projects resulting in at least 15 acres of habitat. In addition, PF/QF will distribute 60 Milkweed in the Classroom kits resulting in 1,500 students educated and 2,400 new native milkweed stems across the landscape.
Pollinator Posse, Community Science Education Project ($7,395)
The Pollinator Posse is dedicating funds to bolster a strong community science effort in California. With a strong social media campaign in 2020, the Posse rounded up a host of community observers to collect monarch population observations. Now that they have fostered a large audience, they will begin to transition many of their observers and reporters over to the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP). Funding from the MJV will help them provide training for volunteers on MLMP protocols in 2022, and promote the use of the MLMP, Southwest Monarch Study tagging program (if approved), and Project Monarch Health in California and the West.
Wild Ones, Wild for Monarchs Program ($4,000)
With 75 chapters across 23 states, Wild Ones has a strong base that can help educate large numbers of communities about monarch and pollinator conservation. To encourage their chapters and members’ continuing role in monarch conservation in 2022 and 2023, MJV funding will be used to update their Wild for Monarchs program content. Updates to the program’s webpage, as well as enhancements to a 60-minute Wild for Monarchs presentation will include new photography, graphics, and current data on monarch population trends. Wild Ones will also publish four monarch conservation-related articles in their quarterly publication, The Wild Ones Journal.
Pollinator Partnership, Project Wingspan: Agricultural Lands (PWAL) - Landowner Training Enhancement ($9,992)
The Pollinator Partnership aims to double the impact of its successful Project Wingspan: Agricultural Lands Landowner Training Enhancement program by offering the training to twice the number of people. To date, the program has resulted in 195 pounds of cleaned seed, production of 16,962 milkweed and other forage species plugs, and nearly 500 conservationists and land managers trained and engaged in monarch butterfly conservation on their lands. MJV funding will help provide educational assistance to landowners through four in-person classroom and field trainings in 2022 and 2023, that include tailored education materials, and follow-up with participants to understand how the knowledge they gained has been applied, and to continue to deliver resources long after the project period is complete.
Desert Botanical Garden, Monarch and Milkweed Phenology in Arizona ($34,480)
Little is known about the overwintering activity of monarchs that call Arizona home, but with help of community scientists over the next two years, the Desert Botanical Garden will be collecting data to help them determine the timing of monarch presence throughout the state. Leveraging existing programs for milkweed and nectar plant distribution, DBG will engage interested community members to collect data on monarch presence. DBG hopes to engage 100 volunteers and 25 organizations in the effort, and analyze the data collected to better understand the phenology of monarchs in Arizona.
University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Monarch Citizen Science: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts ($14,825)
Multiple monarch community science programs exist and provide critical data for monarch research and better understanding populations from year to year. With funding support from the MJV, the University of Wisconsin Arboretum will work to promote ongoing communication about monarch community science, provide a structure for cross-pollination across multiple projects, and develop models for training and recruitment. UW-Arboretum will create news updates for monarch community science project coordinators, assess the need for and create cross-program resources, and will conduct six Monarch Larva Monitoring Project/Journey North trainings by the end of the project period.
Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies & Washington State University, Western Monarch Mystery Challenge Year 3 ($40,548)
Solving the mystery of where western monarchs spend the spring is central to restoring the phenomenon of monarch migration in the West. For the past two years, Washington State University researchers have been engaging California communities via social media to help them solve the mystery. Targeting areas within 50 miles of the wintering sites, and north of Santa Barbara, over 300 sightings of wild adult monarchs were reported in the first year, with sightings doubling in year two. Funding from the MJV ensures the program will run for its third year, and is already underway and receiving sightings.