LINCOLN – Volunteers in towns along the Cowboy Trail are invited to support monarch butterfly conservation by helping the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission plant milkweed seedlings on the trail right-of-way.
Monarch butterflies have seen significant population declines in the past several years. One of the primary reasons for their decline is lack of milkweed plants, which are critical in the life cycle of the monarch. Eggs are laid only on milkweed plants, and caterpillars eat milkweed leaves exclusively.
Game and Parks staff and an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps crew will conduct planting operations for 10,000 milkweed seedlings along the trail from Sept. 21 through Nov. 1. The Monarch Watch program at the University of Kansas will provide milkweed seedlings.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation each provided a multiyear grant for this project.
“By 2018, we will have planted more than 40,000 milkweed seedlings and restored more than 1,000 acres of native prairies,” Game and Parks Planning and Programming Division Administrator Michelle Stryker said. “This is truly a benefit to the Cowboy Trail, Nebraska’s state parks and butterfly conservation in our state.”
To learn more about the program, view the planting schedule, or to volunteer, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/VolunteerSchedule.
AmeriCorps is one of the core programs of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages Americans through service.