SMMPA Provides Free Seed Packages in Effort to Save the Monarch Butterfly
July 14, 2016
Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) is providing free pollinator seed packages to customers in its Member municipal utility communities. The seed packages are part of an effort to create habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Loss of habitat has resulted in an estimated 90% reduction in the eastern U.S. population of the iconic butterfly.
“This is the second phase of our effort this summer and a way to invite members of the public to join in this effort by establishing their own “monarch waystations,” said Chris Schoenherr, Director of Agency and Government Relations at SMMPA. “We’ve come to understand that lots of small actions, right here in our communities, will be the best way to save this important species.”
SMMPA partnered with Sand County Foundation in developing the program. Sand County Foundation has made addressing the loss of the monarch population a priority issue. In cooperation with Sand County Foundation, Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, is helping fund the SMMPA effort.
SMMPA and its members recently completed planting of 29 monarch waystations in 14 different SMMPA Member communities. Providing the free seed packages will help individuals within the community join the effort. Each package will contain milkweed and nectar plant seeds, and instructions for creating an attractive pollinator habitat in your yard or garden.
“We really intend this to be a community effort and the seed packages will help make this a much broader partnership between the municipal utility and its customers,” said Schoenherr. “As people learn about the plight of the monarch, they naturally want to become part of the solution and we believe this will be an easy way for them to do so.”
The seed packages were assembled by Prairie Restorations, Inc. of Princeton, MN and are now available at the local SMMPA Member utility office. Each package contains enough seeds to cover a 36 square foot area. Minnesota Department of Agriculture brochures on creating pollinator habitat are also available at the utility office.
Participating SMMPA Member communities include Austin, Blooming Prairie, Fairmont, Grand Marais, Lake City, Litchfield, Mora, New Prague, North Branch, Owatonna, Preston, Princeton, Rochester, Spring Valley, Saint Peter, Waseca and Wells.