Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District (FSWCD) recently partnered with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), and Waste Management for the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI).
Local citizens were encouraged to collect mature seed pods of common milkweed from Sept. 1 through Oct. 30. These pods were then dropped off at the FSWCD office into a recycling bin donated by Waste Management that was transported to the area by ODOT. Personnel from ODNR picked up the collected pods.
Emily Archibald, Private Lands Biologist for Area 5 of the ODNR Division of Wildlife, congratulated the local effort stating, “Fayette County had one of the largest collections in my area. The seeds from the collected pods will be used to establish new plantings and create additional habitat for the Monarch butterfly throughout Ohio in the coming years.”
“Common and swamp milkweed is essential to the survival of Monarch Butterflies in Ohio. Monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed,” said Chet Murphy, director of FSWCD. “Ohio is a priority area for Monarchs. The generation of Monarchs that hatches in Ohio overwinters in Mexico and starts the life cycle all over again in the spring.”
OPHI was formed in response to the 2014 petition to list the Monarch butterfly as federally endangered. Its partners include state of Ohio agencies, universities, corporations, and non-profit organizations. OPHI’s mission is to inform citizens, landowners, farmers, and government agencies of the importance of pollinators and the habitat they need to survive. Members of the initiative are a core group of professionals that provide education, outreach, and technical assistance to all that have an interest in pollinators and protecting our food supply.
Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District thanks all those who participated in this year’s collection and looks forward to expanding the program in 2017.