To increase habitat for insect pollinators and monarch butterflies we’re working with educators and youth. For the past two years we have offered financial grants for Minnesota and Wisconsin high schools to propagate native plants in greenhouses and transplant them onto rural areas.
In 2018 we introduced a Pollinator Habitat Curriculum Guide that is aligned with current education standards for Midwestern high school science and agriculture educators.
These efforts are made possible by funding to Sand County Foundation from Enel Green Power North America, Inc., We Energies Foundation, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Syngenta, Bayer Crop Science, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Monarch Joint Venture.
Each grant recipient received native wildflower seedlings, a training webinar and consultation, and a $1,000 grant for the school district or FFA chapter to offset project expenses.
Our objective is to engage students in adding native wildflower diversity to rural areas for the benefit of pollinators and Monarch butterflies. Pollinators are essential for crop pollination and ecological diversity, but the numbers of wild bees and monarch butterflies have dropped, partly because of the loss of native wildflower habitat near farmland.
To qualify for the grants, the schools needed greenhouses or suitable indoor growing areas to raise the nearly 600 seedlings of milkweed, prairie blazing star, wild bergamot, and other species. They were also required to identify a rural area (preferably a farm) where they would transplant these native wildflowers in the spring, and tend to them through the summer.
Pollinator Habitat Curriculum Guide
Together with the Earth Partnership at the University of Wisconsin, we developed a Pollinator Habitat Curriculum Guide that is available via free download. The guide provides high school educators with a set of activities appropriate for establishing, managing, and monitoring prairie habitat suitable for monarch butterflies, other insect pollinators and grassland birds. The guide aligns with Common Core and Next Generation Science standards. Click here for more information.
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