March 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 61

from August through mid-October,
reporting the numbers to Monarch
Watch. However, she reported on this
year's monarch numbers, and it is a
cautionary tale if you expect to plan
a major event for the public during
migration. " This year, the drop in
monarch numbers was startling, " she
explains. " We didn't find monarchs
on most of the programs, and I only
really saw migration waves on two
days in early October. They were here
and gone in a matter of a few hours. "
An Action Plan for Parks
Make no mistake, park and recreation agencies across the country are
already stepping up to save the monarch. A query to NRPA's professional networks and discussion groups
elicited literally hundreds of responses from park and recreation professionals who were already engaged in
monarch conservation activities. The
positive response from the 10 Million
Kids Outdoors network of more than
650 park and recreation agencies was
overwhelming. Many agencies see
monarch conservation as an ideal way
to connect kids - and adults - to nature and the outdoors in a meaningful
way that promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)
learning, citizen science and environmental education.
However, with the dramatic decline
of monarch numbers and the proliferation of serious threats to this species,
the future of the monarch is seriously
in doubt if parks don't step up to help
solve this conservation crisis. Recent
discussions with representatives of the
major national organizations involved
in monarch conservation indicate that
they would truly welcome a collective
effort from park and recreation professionals to do more for the conservation of this threatened species.
Clearly, the most valuable action
that public parks can take is to create

habitat, but there is so much more
that can be done. This includes planting milkweed, both seeds and plants,
and other nectar-bearing plants in
appropriate habitat; managing existing lands better by controlling invasive species; restoring grasslands and
prairie habitats; conducting education
and awareness activities that involve
the public in citizen science and monitoring; partnering with conservation
organizations to take the message to
schools, community groups and the

media; holding events and festivals to
make the whole conservation effort
fun as well as educational; mobilizing
volunteers in the collection of seeds,
the monitoring of migration and the
creation of habitat; creating and certifying Waystations and butterfly gardens; and installing signage and educational displays. There is much that
you can do.
Richard J. Dolesh is NRPA's Vice President of
Conservation and Parks (rdolesh@nrpa.org).

Resources for Butterfly Conservation
Monarch Resources
Monarch Watch (www.monarchwatch.org)
t Comprehensive resource on monarch conservation, including info on establishing Waystations, considerable " how-to " info and an online store with native milkweed seeds
Pollinator Partnership (www.pollinator.org/monarchs.htm)
t Users can download and print a free brochure that gives basic facts about the
monarch and what landowners and the public can do to help. The site also offers a
free color brochure for public distribution (shipping not included).
t Users can also download a series of excellent new habitat-development manuals
with regionalized planting guides. Developed for utility companies in managing
rights-of-way and utility corridors, they are equally valuable for parks.
t The site is also the home of S.H.A.R.E., a network and database of public and private areas set aside for pollinators.
Monarch Joint Venture (monarchs@monarchjointventure.org)
t Coalition of agencies and organizations working on a collaborative approach to
monarch conservation, habitat restoration, research and education
Monarch Lab (www.monarchlab.org)
t University of Minnesota website with very good monarch resources and educational content
North American Butterfly Association (www.naba.org)
t National organization with local chapters; sponsors annual butterfly counts, produces magazines, and provides info to landowners on butterfly gardening and habitat
The Xerces Society (www.xerces.org)
t Excellent all-around info on monarchs, bees and other invertebrates. Interactive
webpages include specific recommendations on plant species, habitat and other
info for regions of the U.S.

General Butterfly Resources
Butterflies and Moths of North America (www.butterfliesandmoths.org)
t Excellent overall information resource on butterflies and moths
The Children's Butterfly Site (www.kidsbutterfly.org)
t Good site for kids and teachers
Electronic Resources on Lepidoptera (www.chebucto.ns.ca/Environment/NHR/
lepidoptera.html)
t For the seriously geeky; very comprehensive site, covers butterflies and moths

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