Michigan Has Fallen Behind in the Monarch Waystation Count. Can We Catch Up with Texas?
By Ilse Gebhard, Chair
Kalamazoo Wild Ones Monarch Committee
Well, Michigan has dropped to the number two position in the Monarch Watch waystation count. Texas
is now number one with 1225, Michigan has 1160, and Illinois is catching up with 1103.
Michigan held the lead for a number of years, but Texas is really the most important state for
monarch conservation. All of the monarchs east of the Rockies funnel through Texas on their way to
the Mexican overwintering sanctuaries, and nectar sources are of utmost importance for southbound
monarchs. And then in March, when the monarchs move north ready to lay eggs, milkweed
becomes essential. If monarchs don’t find sufficient milkweed in Texas, there won’t be many off-‐
spring to recolonize the northern range.
Of the 1160 Michigan waystations, 128 (11%) are in Kalamazoo County. By contrast, Kent County
with a population about 2.5 times the size of Kalamazoo County, has less than 2% of the total
number of waysta-‐ tions.
Of the 128 waystations in Kalamazoo County, 97 have a Kalamazoo address. Some are in the City
of Kalamazoo and others are in outlying areas but have Kalamazoo as their mailing address.
Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones has been the driving force behind the creation of many of these
waystations, and I hope many more have been planted but just not registered yet or are in the
planning stage. To register your waystation go to:
HELP MAKE THE MONARCH MICHIGAN’S STATE INSECT
Ilse Gebhard, KAWO Monarch Committee
Karen Meabord has been working very hard to have the Monarch designated as the State of Michigan’s official insect. A bill is being drafted in the House. In order to get this passed, we need to get as many people as possible to show they are in favor of it.
The first thing you can do to help is sign a petition to gather support for this: Say Yes Michigan to the Monarch as our Official State Insect! Please share the link with your Michigan friends.
Second, this summer there will be a rally at the State Capital on Tuesday, August 9, as 2 p.m. Please attend.
And last but not least, there is a public Facebook page for the rally that anyone can view, and if you have a Facebook account, you can click “going”: Say Yes to Michigan! Even if you can’t make it, please click “going'” as it will show Michigan lawmakers that you support the Monarch butterfly as our state insect. Please invite your Michigan friends to view and click as well, and share on your Facebook page.
OUTLINING THE CRISIS…
The Kalamazoo Gazette published an article and video about Wild Ones’ partnership with Monarch Joint Venture and Bring Back the Monarchs of Monarch Watch. Enjoy the (mostly accurate) interview with Ilse Gebhard, one of KAWO’s founding members and a real Monarch expert.
Here’s a wonderful article published in Second Wave/Southwest Michigan on October 27, 2016, again featuring KAWO’s own Ilse Gebhard:
An article was published by MLive and the Grand Rapids Press in June of 2016, with comments from Ilse Gebhard, KAWO Monarch Committee:
Members of KAWO marched in the Do Dah Parade on June 4, 2016. Ilse Gebhard reports that 700 milkweed seed packets were handed out, along with 600 monarch bookmarks. It seems parade watchers actually chased KAWO down for seeds! Well done, folks.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
• Make a financial donation to support purchase of plug trays, growing media, or plants. Any amount welcome! Write checks to Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones (KAWO) with a notation for Monarch Committee in the memo line;
• Grow milkweed plants to share with family and friends and to give away at events like plant exchanges. Seeds and instructions available at monthly meetings, or contact Ilse Gebhard (firstname.lastname@example.org);
• Join the Monarch Committee or express an interest in being contacted for tasks; please let Ilse Gebhard know. Sometime this winter we’ll need help transplanting seedlings from seed flats to plug flats (an excellent opportunity to see how native plants are grown in a greenhouse setting);
• Plant milkweed in your yard and register it as a Monarch Watch Waystation—if you haven’t, this would be a great time. Seeds and information available at meetings, or go to www.monarchwatch.org;
• Motivate non-members to plant milkweed on their properties, or share how-to ideas. Ilse Gebhard has a PowerPoint presentation – if you belong to any group looking for programs, please let Ilse know.