As an international strategy for monarch conservation continues to unfold, many groups are on the ground every day working to restore and enhance habitat for monarchs, monitor those habitats, and share their knowledge with others around them. A small, but mighty group in this effort is the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, a local Virginia non-profit that was formed in 1995. In 2013, Loudoun launched their Bringing Back the Monarch, Keeping the Magic Alive campaign not only to make a difference in the local community, but also to serve as a catalyst to help other people and organizations be inspired to support monarchs throughout North America. As stated by Loudoun’s Executive Director, Nicole Hamilton, “Often times, a problem like species decline seems too big to address, but when you see other people like you or other organizations like yours taking action and having impact, it is empowering. It shifts the solution from ideas that are possible to real-world actions that can be replicated.” Nicole is the leading force behind this campaign and is also a Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist. She has helped boost the number of Monarch Waystations in Loudoun County to over 140 through Loudoun’s monarch campaign. In addition to distributing thousands of milkweed plugs each year at their annual plant sale, one of their goals for this year is to have a certified Monarch Waystation at each of the schools in the district.
The MJV is excited to welcome the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy as our newest partner. Loudoun is a hub of on-the-ground activity that that will help more people and organizations feel empowered to start monarch campaigns of their own. They provide an established, community-level framework for others to utilize and tailor for their own needs. Community level engagement is an important component of MJV’s national strategy. In working with diverse audiences, including the general public, schools, businesses, parks and historic sites, home owner associations, churches, and transportation agencies, Loudoun has developed an extensive framework for monarch conservation on a local scale, which can be replicated in other areas. With the help and resources of the MJV and our partners, we can help this model will spread far and wide, mobilizing communities throughout North America to support monarchs.
To learn more about Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy's monarch work, visit their website: www.loudounwildlife.org