August 19, 2016

Wanted: Milkweed seed pods to help monarchs survive

Milkweed Pod

Milkweed pod

OWENSVILLE, Ohio (Aug. 19, 2016) – Due to the drastic decline in the population of the monarch butterfly, the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) is seeking public involvement to collect and drop off common and swamp milkweed seed pods from established plants from Sept. 1-Oct. 30 at collection stations around the state. The seeds 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,” said Marci Lininger, biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Ohio is a priority area for monarchs. This generation of monarchs is also responsible for starting the life cycle all over again in the spring, and laying the following year’s first generation of monarchs in late summer.”

(SWCD) will collect the pods. Its office is located at the Clermont County Fairgrounds, 1000 Locust St., Owensville, OH 45160.

Seed pods from common or swamp milkweed should be collected when the pods are dry and gray or brown in color. If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked. It is best to collect pods into paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Avoid using plastic bags because they can attract moisture and allow mold to develop. Store seeds in a cool, dry area until you can deliver to the pod collection station.  It is recommended to wear disposable gloves when picking and handling pods. Harvesting seed pods from milkweed plants will not have any effect on the population of milkweed in established areas.

OPHI was formed in response to the 2014 petition to list the monarch butterfly as federally endangered. Its partners include Ohio agencies, universities, corporations, and non-profit organizations.

For more information on OPHI or the seed pod collection, contact OPHI at 614.416.8993or the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District at 513.732.7075.

Contact: Judy Krebs, , SWCD, 513.732.7075

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About the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District:

Established in 1943, the district works with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and farmers to control erosion, promote water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural working lands. The district provides technical assistance, grants and cost share funding, educational programming and other resources to urban, rural and suburban landowners to help them address a diverse range of local conservation issues. For more information, visit www.clermontswcd.org or call 513.732.7075.