USFS Pollinator Gardens and Other Habitat Enhancement Projects
Under Secretary Tom Vilsack's People's Garden initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeks to establish gardens at USDA facilities worldwide and help local communities create gardens of their own. The U.S. Forest Service has registered many of their facility gardens in the international register of People’s Gardens. As part of this program, the Forest Service is installing pollinator gardens at many district offices, providing outreach materials and educational programs about pollinators and how to protect them, while simultaneously creating valuable pollinator habitat for monarchs and a diverse suite of other pollinator species.
In March 2010, Deputy Chief of the National Forest System, Joel Holtrop, wrote to all Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Deputy Chiefs, Area Directors, and Washington Office Directors to encourage monarch conservation efforts. Chief Holtrop encouraged the Forest Service to collaborate with other partners via an All-Lands approach to increase the quality and quantity of habitat for the monarch by including native wildflowers and milkweeds in their restoration and wildlife habitat improvement projects.
In 2010, USFS field staff implemented over 340,000 acres of monarch habitat improvement work: planting pollinator gardens (including milkweed) at district offices and schools, planting nectar plants and milkweed along trails, implementing mowing, burning, thinning, and harvesting regimes designed to boost nectar plant and milkweed abundance, milkweed propagation for seed increase work, inclusion of milkweed in habitat restoration plantings, and seeding right-of-ways with native plants, including milkweed.
To keep up with the Forest Service's monarch conservation work throughout the U.S., you'll enjoy reading updates on their Celebrating Wildflowers website.