Many factors are contributing to the monarch population decline, including loss of breeding and migratory habitat throughout their range. FFA chapters have an opportunity to help reverse this loss by designing their own gardens, enhancing existing gardens, or improving habitat for monarchs and other pollinators on other lands, including private agriculture lands in their communities, or public lands managed by agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Installing a garden is a powerful way to engage communities in creating habitat and raising awareness for monarch butterfly conservation. Chapters will build a team of FFA student leadership, community members and school staff to support monarchs and other important pollinators. This opportuntiy will provide FFA chapters with project experience that leads to greater leadership skills, science knowledge, and conservation actions and awareness.
Through the distribution of these monarch habitat awards, the University of Minnesota’s Monarch Lab in partnership with the USFWS and the Monarch Joint Venture, seeks to increase student and community interest and knowledge about monarchs and their ecological processes through the planting and maintenance of a monarch and pollinator garden/habitat that allows direct observation and authentic inquiry-based activities. A total of five $1,000 projects were funded in 2016.