Pollinators in Peril Extended Phase

Summary

The Pollinators in Peril project was developed to create instructional resources and workshops for teachers, and produce milkweed for the improvement of Monarch butterfly habitat in Georgia.

Situation

The monarch butterfly populations have decreased in alarming proportions over the last decade. They are an indicator species for the overall health of pollinators. Pollinators are essential for the production of vegetable and tree crops. Habitat loss, excessive and improper pesticide use, and a changing climate has diminished the Monarch population.

Response

Four instructional modules have been created for free distribution to more than 400 agriculture teachers in Georgia, and to all agriculture programs in the United States. These modules are designed for delivery in agricultural education courses in grades 7 through 12, with a potential audience of 30,000 high school and middle school students. Upon completion of the project website, these materials will be posted and advertised on agricultural education listservs. The four modules are: 1. Introduction to monarchs 2. Monarch anatomy 3. Monarch life cycle 4. Monarch threats Faculty involved in this project have partnered with citizen scientists with Monarchs Across Georgia to develop workshops for teachers in grades K-12. These workshops are designed to incorporate instructional standards with principles of Monarch habitat development. Workshops are planned for the winter and spring agriculture teachers’ conferences.The COVID-19 pandemic delayed plans to produce milkweed for Monarch habitat. Thirty-five school partners received milkweed seed for spring 2019 planting. Some schools even managed to get seeds planted in greenhouse flats prior to schools closing.

Impact

In addition to the workshops, we have partnered with four schools in Georgia to serve as models of innovation in Monarch habitat development. Pepperell High School is developing natural habitats around the school and community, and engaging school partners in carrying out the project. There are several natural areas adjacent to the school campus that are being considered for planting pollinator species needed by Monarchs. This is a student-led project. Len Lastinger Elementary School is developing a pollinator garden, with emphasis on Monarchs. We are assisting in the development of a teaching garden at the school with an emphasis on milkweed production for Monarch habitat. Rutland Middle School is conducting a whole-school project to develop ½ acre in front of the school as a monarch meadow to support habitat for monarchs and other pollinators.

State Issue

Sustainability, Conservation, and the Environment

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: State
  • County: Tift
  • Location: Coastal Plain Station, Tifton
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources

Author

    Croom, D. Barry
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