9/04/2017

Monarch Butterflies are roosting!

Monarchs roosting SW Cedar Rapids.
It has been reported by a Monarchs in Eastern Iowa group member that she observed a monarch butterfly roost at her home on the SW side of Cedar Rapids, near Fairfax!  The migration is here and will peak in mid-September for this region.  Keep your eyes open for clusters of monarch butterflies in the trees near dusk and report them to Journey North at this page - http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/monarch_roosts_fall2017.html


8/04/2017

Sending Monarchs south with tags

Photo by Dave Johnson
We are heavy into monarch butterfly raising and several of our group have raised over 100!  Soon it will be time to start tagging the last generation of monarchs that will make their way to their over-wintering grounds in Mexico.  If you haven't ordered tags to tag your monarchs, please do ASAP!  

How to order tags:  http://help.monarchwatch.org/kb/article/49-monarch-tagging-process#howtoorder

If you haven't tagged monarchs before, read up on it at Monarch Watch website.
http://help.monarchwatch.org/kb/article/49-monarch-tagging-process#ourmethod

The peak time for Monarchs migrating through our area (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City is latitude 41) is September 8th - 20th.

From Dave Johnson, MEI member:   How to handle a butterfly. Make sure when you pick one up you put your fingers such that all 4 wings are being held, and that you hold from the front of the wing. That will allow your other hand to put the tag on and press to attach.

Photo by Dave Johnson

8/03/2017

2017 RAGBRAI Milkweed Seedball Initiative a Great Success

From our good friends at Milkweed Matters:

Can you believe it? Milkweed Matters quite easily distributed over 60,000 common milkweed seedballs to more than 7,000 RAGBRAI riders just a few weeks ago. This year's seedballs were rolled by almost 3,500 Iowans at more than 80 educational events across the state. Whether you rolled seedballs, tossed them into a roadside, donated supplies, offered valuable advice, or simply have liked our Facebook page....THANK YOU! Milkweed Matters would not survive without the support of literally thousands of people who believe in the power of "crowd-planting." Here's hoping the seeds will germinate and provide invaluable habitat for Monarchs and their friends.

Click this link to find four important steps needed to happen in order for this important work to continue!

Also visit Milkweed Matters!

6/12/2017

Monarch Fest - July 8, 2017

Photo by
MEI member Alice Linhart
MONARCH FEST is quickly approaching at Indian Creek Nature Center.  It will be held Saturday, July 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in and around the Amazing Space Building located at 5300 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids.

Activities include butterfly releases, limited caterpillar adoptions, face painting, food, presentations, seed ball making and crafts! To see a tentative schedule for Monarch Fest CLICK HERE.

PLEASE VOLUNTEER!  Monarchs in Eastern Iowa members will be there volunteering and helping out with various activities.  You too can volunteer! Please click this link to sign up for volunteering,  The various volunteer opportunities are broken down into shifts so you can also have time to enjoy the day.

This will be a fantastic family event and an opportunity to learn about the amazing Monarch butterfly for all age levels.   Plan to come and enjoy the day!

5/26/2017

Iowa and monarch butterflies

Here are some of the exciting things going on 

in Eastern Iowa to benefit Monarch Butterflies 


MUSCATINE
Today an official Monarch Waystation was established in Weed Park in Muscatine by Christine S. and Candi W. who are MEI members.  They planted butterfly weed, whorled milkweed, tropical and balloon milkweed and tall garden phlox for starters!

Muscatine is also in the process of establishing a 16 acre pollinator park!  "The park, said David Cooney of the Muscatine Pollinator Project (and also a members of MEI), will be a place where people can walk or ride, enjoying the flowers and wildlife—and there will be a lot of wildlife to enjoy. ... We’re looking at monarchs, we’re looking at honey bees, we’re looking at native bees, we’re looking at hummingbirds. .... We’re also going to do a pole that says, ‘Its 1,903 miles to Mexico,’ where the monarchs have to fly,” he said.  Read the article from the May 22, 2017 Muscatine Journal - "A haven for people and pollinators".

CEDAR RAPIDS / LINN COUNTY

In Cedar Rapids an 18-acre pollinator zone will be planted on top of the old landfill locally known as "Mount Trashmore", thanks to a grant from Monarch Watch!

Last year  the Thousand Acre Plan was unveiled, in which the city of Cedar Rapids, Linn County and other local entities committed to convert underused public property into habitat for monarchs and other pollinating insects.   A driving force behind this is the Monarch Research Project and their Monarch Zones project.

IOWA CITY
IC Monarchs  The City of Iowa City, along with private citizens and other organizations, have been actively planting milkweed and other important nectar plants in order to better support the Monarch butterfly. Monarch Waystations are located at Wetherby Park, Hickory Hill Park, Hunter's Run, and at the Eastside Recycling Center.  In addition, Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton signed the National Wildlife Federation's Mayors' Monarch Pledge in 2016 to help raise awareness about declining Monarch populations. This pledge indicates a commitment from the City to help rehabilitate the Monarch population.

STATEWIDE
The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium is continuing its research and efforts to increase habitat for monarchs butterflies and other pollinators state-wide.

In addition there are many county parks and county conservation programs in Iowa focusing on the plight of the monarch butterfly, and creating more suitable habitat.  There are just too many projects to share here.

We are so happy the the word has spread and the momentum is picking up!  Iowa is right smack-dab in the middle of the main monarch butterfly breeding area, and with help from us all, maybe they can start to make a comeback.


Click the photo to enlarge it.




4/27/2017

EcoFest seedball making a success

The milkweed seedball making tables were busy on April 22, 2017 at EcoFest in Cedar Rapids.
Photo credit:  MEI member, Larry Long
Milkweed Matters and Monarchs in Eastern Iowa sponsored a milkweed seedball making event at the 2017 EcoFest held at NewBo Market in Cedar Rapids on April 22nd.  Many people (and children) stopped by to help roll seedballs for Milkweed Matters' 2017 Seedball Initiative.

The seedballs will be distributed by the Milkweed Matters riding team during RAGBRAI to be tossed into wild areas all across Iowa.  The goal is to provide more milkweed upon which Monarch caterpillars can feed. In 2016 Milkweed Matters distributed about 50,000 seedballs!

For the Milkweed Matters 2017 RAGBRAI Initiative, Monarchs in Eastern Iowa is one of seven partner groups around the state holding seedball making events.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette posted a story about EcoFest that had some errors.  They did not mention Milkweed Matters involvement in co-hosting and wrongly said that Monarchs in Eastern Iowa (instead of Milkweed Matters) had distributed 50,000 seedballs.  We have sent a notice to them of the error.


4/20/2017

Help Make Milkweed Seedballs

At the 2016 EcoFest we made 2500 milkweed seedballs!
Milkweed Matters and Monarchs in Eastern Iowa will be hosting a milkweed seedball making and information table at EcoFest in front of NewBo Market in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, April 22.  We invite you to stop by and roll a few seedballs for RAGBRAI to toss in wild areas as they cross Iowa.  Learn about how both groups are working to help the Monarch butterfly flourish.

Read more about Milkweed Matters Ragbrai Seedball initiative at  https://milkweedmatters.org/ragbrai/2017-2/

How to make seedballs
https://milkweedmatters.org/how-to-make-seedballs/

EcoFest at NewBo Market in Cedar Rapids
Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 10am to 4pm
http://ecofestcr.org/
https://www.facebook.com/Ecofestcr/
Celebrate this Earth Day event in Eastern Iowa with live music, local vendors, artists and more!