Midwest Region wins 2015 Monarch Challenge Award
February 16, 2016
Monarch rests before taking flight. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS.
Congratulations to Midwest Region Staff on bringing the 2015 Monarch Challenge Award for Education & Outreach home! With little time to plan for monarchs in the summer, you moved monarch mountains.
The Midwest Region stood out for its participation in monarch and pollinator activities, outreach and work in all eight states - across programs and offices.
From engaging youth, to planting butterfly gardens, to bringing decision makers together, the Midwest Region worked hard to engage people with monarchs and won the 2015 Education and Outreach Award by a landslide.
A snapshot of Midwest Region monarch outreach and education in 2015:
- Rock Island Ecological Services Field Office in Illinois hosted the first ever Quad Cities Pollinator Conference. This conference was very successful and will be repeated this year.
- Service programs collaborated to create the “Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative” to improve habitat conditions for pollinators in Ohio. This effort was led by staff from the Ohio Ecological Services Office, Ohio Private Lands Office and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
- In Iowa, staff at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Des Moines, Iowa created and led the People for Pollinators Program to enhance stewardship and education on wheels. Staff took a trailer to schools, businesses, and communities to partner with the FWS to plant a pollinator garden.
- The social media campaign #ShareYourMonarchs, led by the Midwest Region External Affairs Office, engaged millions of people across the country about monarchs and pollinator conservation.
- Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois, and the Midwest Landscape Conservation Cooperatives worked with the St. Louis Milkweeds for Monarch Program to educate people about monarchs and support community-driven habitat enhancement. This sparked interest in engaging major cities with monarch conservation and a partnership with the Chicago Field Museum was born.
- Iron River Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin engaged the Iron River Elementary School's fifth grade class in planting a butterfly garden and sowing an acre of milkweed.
- Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge hosted a monarch tagging event attended by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Director Dan Ashe and youth from Twin Cities Metro Area. At this event, staff conducted interactive plays to teach elementary kids about the life cycle of monarchs.
These accomplishments are just some of the ways our region got involved with monarchs. There were and are many other monarch projects. Each of your efforts helped us achieve the Monarch Challenge Education & Outreach Award!
In addition to the Education & Outreach Award, there were two other 2015 Monarch Challenge Awards up-for-grabs: Congratulations to the Region 6 for winning the Restoration and Enhancement Award and Region 1 for taking home the Monitoring and Research Award.
You are the reason we excel in monarch outreach and engagement. Thank you for all of your hard work last year. This year, let’s build on the engagement and excitement of 2015 and make 2016 another great year!
Midwest Region Receives the 2015 Monarch Challenge Award for Outreach & Education. Staff pictured left to right: Aaron Woldt (Deputy Assistant Regional Director - Fisheries), John Weber (Environmental Contaminants Specialist - Columbia Field Office), Becky Esser (Refuge Biologist - Detroit Lakes WMD), Regional Director Tom Melius, and Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley. Photo by Jim Weber.
Many of our field offices engaged local communities in urban gardening to create monarch and pollinator habitat.
Photo by Courtney Celley/USFWS.
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