Help TPE collect milkweed seed
In the recent years much attention has been brought to the declining numbers of Monarch Butterflies. You can help by collecting your milkweed seed this fall and support our regional effort to restore Milkweed for Monarchs. TPE Executive Director Chris Kirkpatrick provides this blog post on the project.The decline in monarch butterflies has the attention of the nation and this year the Monarch Joint Venture produced a Monarch Conservation Implementation Plan (https://monarchjointventure.org/our-work/2017-monarch-conservation-implementation-plan/). One major piece of this plan is the need for significant planting of milkweed and pollinator habitat. There are several efforts underway to plant acreage across TPE's service area, and there is a need for milkweed seed to be gathered for these efforts.
We are asking you, TPE members and friends, to gather up milkweed seed this fall to provide towards these restoration efforts. We will put this seed to use across the Midwest and make a big difference in monarch recovery. For example, each pound of milkweed seed will help restore up to 4 acres of monarch habit. This initiative will go directly to help support the planting of several hundred acres for monarch butterfly recovery.
The Prairie Enthusiasts have implemented a Monarch Butterfly Cooperative Agreement with the US Fish & Wildlife Service to manage and restore habitat for monarchs throughout Wisconsin. These efforts have resulted in more remnants being cleared of brush, and new acres of prairie planted. Currently there are several projects underway throughout TPE's service area that need more milkweed seed to help with the on-going grant projects. These include:
- Trout Unlimited has a cost share grant project through the USDA to conduct stream restoration, and plant prairie back along the stream banks in the Wisconsin and the Minnesota Driftless Area.
- The Southwest Grasslands Stream Conservation Area covers portions of Dane, Iowa, and Lafayette Counties. Currently Driftless Area Land Conservancy has a monarch butterfly grant to manage and restore prairie in the region.
- Due to recent flooding, the Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts are in need of swamp milkweed for their seed mixes this year.
TPE's Milkweed to Monarchs initiative gives members and volunteers a Grassroots Conservation in Action approach to this threat to Monarchs. This is something practical, and that can be done yet this year, to contribute towards monarch regeneration. By collecting your milkweed seeds this fall, you will be making a difference and together we will have a big impact with this restoration effort.
Thank you for considering this initiative. We are asking people to collect their milkweed seed this summer and fall, send it to TPE and the seed will contribute to these regional efforts. Please email Chris Kirkpatrick (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the office at 608-638-1873 to let us know you are interested in participating and what types & amounts of milkweed you can provide.
What we are asking people to do is:
- Name the type and location of the milkweed seed.
- Identify the seed source (remnant, or the seed source of plantings)
- Collect the milkweed in groups by species
- Dry & weigh the milkweed seed pods.
- Deliver the seed to TPE's office or send by mail.
- The Empire-Sauk Chapter is active out at Mounds View Grassland, email Grace Vosen (email@example.com) for seed picking dates.
- The Northwest Illinois Prairie Enthusiasts have their full seed picking schedule and contact information on their website (http://nipes.org/).
- The Prairie Bluff Chapter has regular workdays at several key sites around the Monroe, WI area in Green County. Interested people can email Tom Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org).