Here at Warren SWCD, we began hearing rumblings of a new conservation effort sweeping the country in late 2015. In November, we heard that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would lead a 10 state effort to help provide food and habitat for monarch butterflies. Their plan was to provide funding for agricultural producers to provide this food and habitat through established programs such as EQIP, WRP and CSP. Funding would reach a 10 state region and provide approximately $4 million in aid - Ohio being one of those states! Read more about this initial effort HERE. Reading about this important conservation movement was exciting, but what really got us excited was what we started to hear on a local level! Taking cues from our national counterparts, Ohio wanted to make an even bigger difference! And so the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative was born....
(Click for the OPHI Website!)
OPHI Mission Statement: "To improve and create pollinator habitat in the state of Ohio, as well as raise awareness for all Ohioans regarding the importance of pollinators."
The OPHI's reason for being is even more profound and important: "Pollinator wildlife species such as bees and butterflies are in trouble. Pollinators have been suffering from population decline primarily due to loss of habitat which provides pollen, nectar, and host plants which are vital to the survival of most pollinators. Over the past ten years, there have been several species of pollinators that have vanished from Ohio. More recently, monarch butterfly populations have plummeted to alarmingly low levels. Poor honeybee health is a critical issue also linked to the decline of pollinator habitat.
These pollinators are responsible for helping produce about one third of the world-wide food supply for people by simply moving pollen from plant to plant resulting in pollination, which produces apples, almonds, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Here in Ohio, the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative was started to inform citizens, landowners, farmers, and government agencies of the importance of pollinators and the habitat they need to survive. Members of the initiative are the core professionals that provide education, outreach, and technical assistance to all that have an interest in pollinators and protecting our food supply."
Sponsors and partnerships grew as the Initiative picked up steam. The initiative has many events, programs and collected information. One of the big programs is the milkweed pod collection effort. This is where Warren SWCD and in turn YOU play a role! Our office is an official collection location. Collect common milkweed seed pods and bring them to us! The following is the information about the seed pod collection program.
Collection Dates: September 1 - October 30, 2016
Click below to learn how to collect common milkweed seed pods.
Learn more by visiting our webpage detailing
the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative!
~ Molly Conley, Natural Resource Engineer
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Warren County SWCD Staff Blog
A blog to keep you informed on all the latest news at Warren County SWCD and in the conservation world.