UK research shows urban gardens can aid in pollinator conservation

by Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

A recent study conducted by University of Kentucky Department of Entomology researchers found that monarch butterflies and various bee species quickly find and use milkweeds in small urban gardens. They showed that monarchs and bees have preferences for the type and size of the plants.

“Our goal was to demonstrate to gardeners and homeowners that they can participate in meaningful pollinator conservation in their own backyard,” said Adam Baker, UK graduate student in the College of the Agriculture, Food and Environment. Continue reading

Monarch Conservation webinar: milkweed seed collection

Monarchs need milkweed! Collecting native milkweed seed is a cost-effective way to get local ecotype seeds for use in restoration projects. In this webinar, you’ll get an overview of milkweed seed collection, including a primer on native plants, tips and tricks for harvesting, storing and growing milkweed seed, and how you can participate in the Monarch Watch Milkweed Market to contribute to milkweed planting on a large scale. If you want to learn about how begin or improve your milkweed seed collection efforts, this is the webinar for you!

This webinar is sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Continue reading

NCSU golf course and BASF partner to help monarch butterflies

NC State University professor emeritus Harold Coble saw an opportunity to help the threatened monarch butterfly at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course. As a consultant for BASF, Coble knew about the project Living Acres, a BASF effort designed to promote growing milkweeds in non-agricultural areas like golf courses.

Since the Lonnie Poole was established as a sustainable golf course, Coble figured that it would be an ideal place for BASF to establish a monarch butterfly habitat. He approached the golf course management with the idea. Continue reading

Butterflies Get Royal Treatment on Golf Course

In NC State News

by Tim Peeler

Golf courses aren’t just for birdies — the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on NC State’s Centennial Campus is now a habitat for increasingly rare monarch butterflies.

In partnership with Triangle-based chemical company BASF, NC State crop and soil sciences professor emeritus Harold Coble and a corps of volunteers planted some 750 milkweed plants and wildflowers in low-traffic areas of the golf course to become a habitat for the distinctive orange and black butterflies. Continue reading

UK students provide monarchs a rest stop and nursery

by Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

It’s an epic journey by a creature so fragile that it is almost beyond the imagination. Thousands of times a monarch butterfly’s wings stroke the air, buffeted by winds and soaked by rains on its 3,000-mile autumn trip from southern Canada to central Mexico. Faced by numerous threats, their populations are in decline. University of Kentucky graduate student Jerrod Penn decided to study people’s interest in helping the butterfly.

Penn, who is working on his doctorate in agricultural economics in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, spent the summer conducting a survey of 800 people in Lexington to find out what they know about the plight of the monarch and how much they’re willing to support efforts to help the butterflies. Continue reading

Viewpoints on how to save monarch butterflies are varied

Pollinator gardens, which can include plants attractive to bees and butterflies, have become quite popular these days. Most public gardens and arboretums have a featured pollinator garden, and people around the country concerned about dwindling populations of bees and butterflies because of stories in the news are seeking advice on how to help raise pollinator numbers. But just like many other stories about how to help endangered species, the bee and butterfly issue is fraught with controversy.

Because science is something that evolves over time, and living things–whether human, animal or plant–are complicated, scientific understanding of how to control or restore populations often changes with time. In the case of the monarch butterfly, research done by some experts is now colliding with research done by others. Depending on which publications or blogs you subscribe to, you may see one opinion or another. However, your colleague or friend might see another, and when the two of you talk, you might wonder if you’re doing the right thing, and if not, what you should do. I have presented three schools of thought currently being generated in blogs and online newsletters or magazines so that you will know much of what is being discussed with regard to saving the monarch butterfly. Continue reading

EPA soliciting public comment about protection of monarchs

EPA is concerned about the dwindling population of monarch butterflies and has identified actions to protect the monarch and the milkweed plant, an important resource for the monarch butterfly. The document, EPA’s Risk Management Approach to Identifying Options for Protecting the Monarch Butterfly, outlines an approach for actions to protect the monarch butterfly. EPA is soliciting public comment on which potential action or a combination of actions would be most effective in reducing the impacts of herbicides on the monarch butterfly and its habitat. The agency is also requesting additional suggestions for protection measures for the monarch.

Continue reading