Fall is in full swing; leaves are falling and monarch butterflies have arrived in Mexico for the winter. In preparation for their return, National Wildlife Refuges and Fish Hatcheries throughout the Northeast are busy as bees preparing for pollinators this coming spring. Some of the great pollinator projects happening the fall include gardens and schoolyard habitats, outreach events, and planning summer camps, but these only begin to scratch the surface of the magnitude of the efforts to conserve these iconic species. Below is a map identifying field stations in the Northeast that received pollinator seeds and materials to begin projects or continue existing projects this fall.
Like many refuges across the region, Iroquois NWR has been fervently engaged in enhancing pollinator awareness. Not only do they perform extensive pollinator outreach, sharing with young people the miraculous journey that monarchs make each year and their fundamental role in plant reproduction, but they also host student research that focuses on the impact of habitat management actions on monarch populations. Iroquois NWR is happy to announce that late October should give rise to a new and improved garden for pollinators when visiting administrative staff from the Northeast will reclaim and enhance the space using seed donated from the Monarch Conservation Initiative. This will allow us to expand our efforts, using it as a teaching tool and garnering more support for these invertebrates that we hold dear!
In New Jersey, Cape May National Wildlife Refuge plans to plant a pollinator garden at the Two Mile Beach Unit in Wildwood Crest this fall so that the plants are ready to burst into growth in early spring. The garden will be strategically placed along the bike path and visible from the Dune Trail so hundreds of walkers and bikers alike can easily view the area. Interpretive signage will be utilized to convey the importance and purpose of pollinator gardens and grown plants will be labeled so interested individuals can know what beneficial plants to grow in their own backyard. The chosen area is surrounded by the marshland, grassland, maritime forest, and beach habitats on the Two Mile Beach Unit so the garden will lend itself to the already diverse array of habitats and pollinators will likely seek out the area. The Refuge looks forward to being a small haven for pollinators come spring and sharing that with visitors.
At the New England Field Office, Endangered Species Biologist Susi von Oettingen and Partners for Fish and Wildlife biologist Ted Kendziora are teaming up with the New England Hemophilia Association to bring pollinators to NEHA’s Family Summer Camp and the Geneva Point Conference Center next year. With monarchs and bees on the decline, seeds will be used to create a pollinator garden with native wildflowers to benefit all pollinators. Students will have the opportunity to get hands on with seed and planting activities to create new habitat while learning the important ties these species have to agriculture and native ecosystems. The pollinator garden will be a permanent feature of the Center for visitors from other camps, conferences, school groups and special events to see and learn about.
Are you interested in helping create habitat at home or in your local community? Learn more about how you can help protect monarchs and pollinators.