Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Regional Director Tom Melius talks about eagles with a participant at the Chicago Park District Corridor Community Planting Day. Photo by Louise Clemency/USFWS
Regional Director Tom Melius. Photo by USFWS.

September 2016

Pick a spot because seed gathering time is near

September brings us back into that contrast of hot days and much cooler nights…and to the season of migrations for birds and butterflies with its hints of Fall. An important activity this time of year is that now is the prime time to scope out your areas to collect milkweed seeds. And as we look to the future of our pollinators with this gathering of tomorrow’s seeds, it’s certainly notable that now is also the time to watch as monarchs begin the long journey back to Mexico. Learn more

I recently traveled to Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to our Prairie Wetlands Learning Center and had the chance to see the joy of butterfly conservation through the eyes of a child. They hosted a youth event where a large group of youngsters battled some winds but successfully netted and tagged a large number of monarchs. You can imagine the thrill for them as they enjoyed this hands-on portion as well as learning in the classroom more about monarchs, their stages of metamorphosis and their all-important migrations to and from our backyards and Mexico.

In a similar program last year at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, kids caught and tagged about 200 butterflies, seven of which were actually found and identified at their wintering home in Mexico. I’d like to give a shout out to our national Monarch Implementation, Engagement and Advisory Teams who are preparing now to do more great monarch work in the year ahead.

This month we feature a number of stories on monarch work going on here in the Midwest Region and the many partners in those efforts. You can learn more here and here.

Earlier this month, I had the great pleasure of joining Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Service Director Dan Ashe at what is the Olympics of conservation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “World Conservation Congress.” There we presented different sessions on monarch conservation, wildlife trafficking, endangered species and other topics to a vast gathering of conservation worldwide experts and leaders. You can watch our seminar on monarch conservation here. Attendees numbering more than 9,000 strong from 182 countries were an international who’s who list of organizations and conventions, government entities, faith based organizations and foundations. Events like this, underscore to me the great importance of our conservation work on a local and global scale.

I was also happy to have the great opportunity to take part in our Midwest Region celebration of the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial last month at the Lincoln Zoo in Chicago. The now century old signed agreement provides a continual legacy of bird conservation success and opportunities with our partners from Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia who all signed on to make this Treaty a cornerstone for bird conservation. Learn more

And lastly, a special shout out to our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Leadership Award winners: Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge and Crab Orchard CERCLA.  This month we’ve featured Port Louisa who won, not only this Service award but were also recognized by the Department of Energy with the 2016 Federal Energy and Water Management Award. Learn more

Enjoy this month’s Inside Region 3



Regional Director Tom Melius shows a newly hatched butterfly to a group of young visitors at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Photo by Teresa Jaskiewicz/USFWS.

Regional Director Tom Melius shows a newly hatched butterfly to a group of young visitors at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Photo by Teresa Jaskiewicz/USFWS.

New orange snow fencing provided by ComEd, is placed behind the new metal fence structure within the site and zigzagged around the area of blooming eastern prairie fringed orchid to further protect the plants from any type of damage.  New sensitive area signage was also graciously provided by ComEd. Photo by USFWS

A pair of teachers from Breckenridge, Minnesota, pose near the monarch with Regional Director Tom Melius and Teresa Jaskiewicz, Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. Photo by USFWS.


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Last updated: September 21, 2016