Bring Back the Monarchs!

CATCH THE BUZZ     By Kim Flottum    May 18, 2014

NRDC and Berkeley Food Institute Join to Host 2014 Growing Green Awards

The 2014 Growing Green Awards honored an outstanding individual in each of the following four categories: Sustainable Food and Farm Educator, Sustainable Livestock Producer, Pollinator Protector, and Regional Food Leader.

POLLINATOR PROTECTOR Winner for 2014 is Orley "Chip" Taylor
Monarch Watch / Lawrence, KS -- University of Kansas

Since insect ecologist Chip Taylor founded Monarch Watch in 1992, the organization has enlisted thousands of citizens to protect the monarch butterfly from extinction. The butterfly's numbers have sunk to ten percent of what they were in 1996, largely because milkweed—the only food source for monarch larvae and where adults lay their eggs—has been wiped out by herbicides and the relentless expansion of corn and soy acres in the Midwest. Based out of the University of Kansas, Monarch Watch has enlisted hundreds of thousands of volunteers each year to track the butterfly's population and advocate for its protection. Now Taylor is on a crusade to plant new milkweed habitat through Monarch Watch's "Bring the Monarch Back" initiative. Beginning in 2005, the program has sent milkweed plugs to over 160,000 schools, parks and home gardens, creating vital fuel sources for butterflies on their migration path from Canada to Mexico. For Taylor, the monarch's decline signals a larger crisis affecting all pollinators, upon whom much of our food system and the food sources of so many animals depend.

Read Chip's blog post: Bring Back the Monarchs!

From all of us at Bee Culture, and beekeepers everywhere, Congratulations Chip.


Huffington Post    By Chip Taylor - Pollinator Protector, Monarch Watch    May 16, 2014 

Ten years ago, a grain farmer in Northeast Nebraska wrote me a letter:

"I am concerned that the recent large use of Roundup Ready crops (which I use) and the subsequent widespread use of Roundup herbicide (which I also use), have led to the virtual elimination of milkweed in fields and crops," he said. But it wasn't the loss of milkweed that alarmed him most; it was the fact that with its disappearance, the monarch butterfly had also left his farm.

I'm an insect ecologist, and I've spent much of my career working with pollinators -- a keystone group of organisms that help maintain the fabric of our ecosystems. They provide the services that yield the berries, fruits, seeds, foliage and roots that are food for hundreds of thousands of species worldwide. Seventy percent of native vegetation requires pollination, as does 30 percent of our food supply. Reading that farmer's letter was a devastating signal that monarchs were at serious risk. More importantly, if we lose monarchs we lose a large number of other species that feed on pollinated plants.

I founded Monarch Watch...