Monarchs and More!

bigmonarch.fws.govAs the Headwaters Chapter’s 2014/2015 Focus Project, Monarchs and More! hopes to be a meaningful and timely set of yearlong projects that engage all members of the chapter in the stewardship of public lands to protect and/or create helpful perennial habitat to boost the declining populations of Monarch butterflies and other pollinators. We will work with partners to create or identify “Monarch Waystations” in at least five public areas across Augusta and Rockingham Counties. Potential partners include park and other public land staff, the Virginia Native Plant Society, The Natural Garden, the JMU arboretum already hosting a Monarch Waystation, … your friends and neighbors!

Interpreting the areas with signage will be an important part of public education outreach.

Our project will culminate with a chapter-hosted “migration” tour on August 15, 2015, to visit each of these areas!

Where can you help out?
Here are some of our proposed locations to explore and a chapter member to contact about each:

  • Natural Chimneys: Kelly Rourke
  • Staunton, considering the Frontier Culture Museum and/or Montgomery Park: Kathy Romig
  • Bridgewater, considering Cook’s Creek Arboretum: RoxAnna Theiss
  • Harrisonburg, considering Purcell and/or Hillandale Parks: Adrie Voors
  • Broadway area: needs an adopter!

Also planned are a plants/seeds team and an educational outreach materials team to support the planting projects. Earth Day Staunton, Blacks Run CleanUp Day in Harrisonburg, and Riverfest in Waynesboro will all serve as public education opportunities to champion protected, native, pollinator-friendly plantings to support ecological diversity and land and water health, using the Monarch as a poster child.

metamorphosisbyGail

Click above to access Gail’s You Tube video of Monarch metamorphosis.

Monarch Waystation Planning Panel
The Headwaters Chapter’s Annual Meeting on November 1st at Buckhill Farm featured a Monarch Waystation Planning Panel with Chris Bowlen, of the Virginia Native Plant Society and a VA Master Naturalist, and Gail Napora, writer, artist and all-round Monarch master and champion. They offered advice on Monarch requirements and natural history, and suitable plants and plant management for our sites and will both continue to serve as ready resources to help guide our projects.

Funding
At their September meeting, the Headwaters Master Naturalists Board allocated $60 per project site toward signage or other needs for a total of $300. A 50/50 raffle and book sale at the Annual Meeting brought in additional funds. The Waynesboro Woman’s Club has offered some funds through award money they received last year for a monarch awareness project. Not least, we may creatively challenge ourselves to find ways of partnering and sharing to develop the projects without a lot of cash.

Headwaters members can find more project details and sign up opportunities on the VMN VMS site.

Have ideas to make this project GREAT? Contact Sandy Greene! greenes104[at]aol.com

A Monarchs and More! Project Update is here with links to pages for each project site.

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