Missouri is the “Show-Me State," but rather than being shown, Missourians have been paving the way for state monarch and pollinator conservation planning efforts. With stakeholders from conservation and agricultural organizations, state and federal agencies, as well as utilities, agribusiness and cooperatives, Missourians for Monarchs convened a state summit in 2015 to bring greater focus to the plight of the monarch butterfly and pollinators in Missouri. They have transformed from a grassroots organization to a statewide initiative supported by a formal Missourians for Monarchs Collaborative. Many ideas came out of the summit, and from it emerged a vision of monarch and pollinator habitat conservation that would combine the efforts of multiple entities and individuals through awareness, education, volunteerism and non-regulatory, voluntary action. In addition to the expectation that this effort will assist in monarch and pollinator conservation, one goal is that the actions of the Collaborative will render the need for listing the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act unnecessary.
"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. Our Collaborative members are committed to increasing and sustaining habitat for all pollinators in Missouri."
The work of the Collaborative is supported by a Missourians for Monarchs Steering Committee, which oversees the implementation of the Missouri Monarch and Pollinator Conservation Plan. The mission of this plan is to engage Missourians to increase and sustain habitat for monarch butterflies and pollinators through citizen involvement, and to seek ways for partners, communities and agencies to coordinate similar efforts. The Collaborative intends to work toward a 20-year objective to create or restore 385,000 acres of pollinator habitat in Missouri, including both milkweeds and nectar resources!
“Statewide initiatives like Missourians for Monarchs are exactly what we need to take monarch and pollinator conservation to the next level. The collective of groups working together through this initiative is important in leveraging opportunities and available resources on the state level, but it also feeds into larger regional, national and international strategies to restore monarch and pollinator populations. We are excited to welcome Missourians for Monarchs as an MJV partner,” says Wendy Caldwell, MJV Coordinator.
Missourians for Monarchs currently consists of nearly 30 partners representing citizens, conservation and agricultural organizations, government agencies, municipalities, utilities and agribusinesses. The collaborative seeks to work with all entities within the state who are interested in promoting pollinator conservation on public lands as well as agricultural and non-agricultural private lands. Please visit the Missourians for Monarchs blog page and Facebook page for more information.
The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo by Missourians for Monarchs.