PLEASE DON’T PURCHASE POISONED MILKWEED PLANTS FROM BIG BOX STORES!

THE FOLLOWING NOTICE ABOUT MILKWEEDS TREATED WITH NEONICOTINOIDS WAS SHARED BY TWO FRIENDS, MEGAN FROM PRIDES CROSSING AND CHERYL MCKEOUGH

FROM: Sandy Robinson, President, National Garden Clubs, Inc.
SUBJECT: Milkweed

It has been brought to my attention that some “Big Stores” have been selling milkweed plants that have been treated with systemic Neonicotinoids. This will kill caterpillars! Please, be aware and be on the lookout for these tags placed in plants. Please pass this information along to your garden club members!

Garden Club member Mary Writes, I purchased a Milkweed plant from Home Depot near my home and it wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the little information stick hidden behind the identification information that the plant had been treated with systemic Neonicotinoids. The container boasted how desirable the plant is for birds and butterflies. Yesterday I went to a different Home Depot and they had just put out an entire rolling cart of these plants, maybe about 100, all poisoned. I contacted the store manager and told him that it is the same as giving poison candy to kids on Halloween. This is THE host plant for the Monarch. My club, Shady Oaks and our junior club, Little Shadows have worked so hard to establish a Monarch Waystation and to educate people on the decline of the Monarch. I hate to think of the millions of poison Milkweed being distributed nationwide by Home Depot.

The container says distributed by Home Depot, 2455 Paces Ferry Rd N. W., Atlanta , Georgia.

I contacted the LSU Ag Agent for New Orleans, Dr Joe Willis. He said the Neonicotinoids will dilute as the plants grow but that only a very small amount will kill the larva of the Monarch. He is contacting the Master Gardeners of the area. I contacted the newsletters of garden clubs to ask that they send a notice to members. I contacted a local GOA club and the president said she would inform her members. I contacted our LGCF President and our Environmental School Chairman with the information.
We need a notice to Home Depot from a national source.

I contacted the Monarch Watch organization www.MonarchWatch.org/waystations at the University of Kansas (1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045) .
It needs to be sent soon as these plants are being sold now to well meaning people who are wanting to help the Monarch and not kill them. I hate to think of the billions of plants being sold nationwide and how that will cancel the efforts of so many to stop the demise of the Monarch. Could you please help?

GMG Readers, Wednesday I am planning to check to see if our local Home Depots are also selling milkweeds with pesticide. I don’t purchase plants from Home Depot as they are generally of a much poorer quality, however I have in a pinch. 

Milkweed can be purchased from these local sources:

Cedar Rock Gardens

Wolf Hill

Northeast Nursery

Save the Date for My Upcoming Program “Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly”

On Thursday, May 4th at 7pm, I am giving my lecture with photos, “Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly,” along with several short film screenings, for the Salem Garden Club. For more information, see the events page of my website. I hope to see you there!

Newly Emerged Monarch Butterfly and Sunflower, Gloucester

Beauty on the Wing ~ Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch’s life story is one of nature’s most incredible examples of adaptation and survival. But the Monarch migration is in great peril. Learn how you can help. Through photographs and discussion, Beauty on the Wing tells the life story of the Monarch Butterfly, the state of the butterflies migration and why they are in sharp decline, and the positive steps we can take as individuals and collectively to help the Monarchs recover from the devastating effects of habitat loss and climate change.  (1-1.5 hours).

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis and Marsh Milkweed

Monarchs Awakening

NRCS, USFWS Partner to Accelerate Conservation on Agricultural Lands for the Monarch Butterfly

NRCS, USFWS Partner to Accelerate Conservation on Agricultural Lands for the Monarch Butterfly

 

Download the Monarch Butterfly Conference Report.
NEW Working Lands for Wildlife National project bounderies
See a map of Working Lands for Wildlife National Project Boundaries.

The monarch butterfly is a new national priority species of Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW), a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Populations of monarchs, a pollinator species cherished across North America, have declined significantly during the past two decades. This collaboration aims to help the species recover by working with agricultural producers to make wildlife-friendly improvements on their farms, ranches and forests.

“Producers can make simple and inexpensive tweaks on working lands that provide monumental benefits to monarch butterflies and a variety of other insects and wildlife,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller. “By adding the monarch to Working Lands for Wildlife, we can accelerate conservation for the species at the heart of its migration corridor.”

NRCS and USFWS recently completed a conference report that explains how conservation practices can help the eastern monarch population, a species known for its remarkable annual, multi-generational migration between central Mexico and the United States and Canada. This report is an initial step toward adding the monarch to WLFW, which uses a science-based, targeted approach to help a variety of at-risk species.

“We need to make every effort to help ensure monarchs don’t become endangered now and in the long term,” said USFWS Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “Conservation efforts on agricultural lands across the nation can have a significant positive impact on monarchs as well as many other pollinator insects and birds. Working with farmers and other private landowners, we can ensure a future filled with monarchs.”

The monarch butterfly joins an array of wildlife species across the country already part of WLFW, including the greater sage-grouse and New England cottontail, two recent successes in species conservation. The USFWS determined in 2015 that the two species didn’t warrant protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because of voluntary conservation efforts underway to restore habitat.

Through WLFW, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers adopt conservation practices that benefit the monarch. Meanwhile, through the conference report, the USFWS provides producers with regulatory predictability should the monarch become listed under the ESA. Predictability provides landowners with peace of mind – no matter the legal status of a species under ESA – that they can keep their working lands working with NRCS conservation systems in place.

Work through WLFW centers on 10 states in the Midwest and southern Great Plains that are considered the core of the monarch’s migration route and breeding habitat. Much of this work will focus on planting and enhancing stands of milkweed and other high-value nectar plants for monarchs. Assistance is available to producers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin.

USFWS has committed significant funding – $20 million over five years – to support monarch conservation efforts. Additionally, USFWS is working with partners, including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Wildlife Federation and the Mexican and Canadian governments to leverage resources and investments to support and implement conservation actions across the continent.

During the past two years, NRCS has made available $6 million through a variety of Farm Bill conservation programs for monarch conservation in the 10 states. Additionally, NRCS is working with partners, including The Xerces Society and General Mills, to increase staffing capacity to help producers design customized conservation strategies for working lands.

The two agencies’ efforts contribute to a multi-agency, international strategy to reverse the monarch’s population decline in North America, estimated to have decreased from one billion butterflies in 1995 down to an estimated 34 million. Through the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, offsite link image     released by the White House, the United States has a goal of increasing the eastern population of monarchs back to 225 million by 2020.

Producers interested in NRCS assistance should contact their local USDA service center to learn more. NRCS accepts landowner enrollment applications on a continuous basis. NRCS offers more than three dozen conservation practices that can provide benefits to monarchs as well as a variety of other pollinators.

 

 

 

Please Vote For Me!

Essex National Heritage is celebrating their 20th anniversary. To mark this special occasion, Essex Heritage is recognizing organizations and people that make the Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County) so exceptional and I have been nominated!

Kim Smith Designs is nominated as an Essex Heritage Trailblazer in the second category, Connecting People to Place. The 130 nominees are all stellar and most are businesses and very large organizations, for example, the Peabody Essex Museum, Mass Audubon (statewide), and Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, so it is really quite an honor to be nominated.

The voting process is very simple, you don’t have to provide your email address or any other personal information. Please vote for me, in the center column, halfway down in the second category, Connecting People to Place. Here is the link to vote: surveymonkey.com/r/TrailblazersVote. Voting ends soon, on March 14th, so please vote today. And please share with your friends.

THANK YOU!

Save the Date for My Upcoming Pollinator Garden Program at the Sawyer Free Library!

Dear Friends,

Please join me April 6th at 7pm at the Sawyer Free Library where I will be giving my Pollinator Garden program and screening several short films. This event is free and open to the public. I am looking forward to presenting this program at our wonderful Sawyer Free and hope to see you there!!

Female Ruby-throated hummingbird and zinnia – ornithophily is the pollination of flowering plants by birds. They carry off the pollen on their heads and neck to the next flower they visit.

This newly eclosed Monarch is clinging to its chrysalis case. Within moments of emerging, the two-part Monarch proboscis must zip together to form a siphoning tube. If the two parts do not join, the butterfly will not be able to drink nectar. In this photo, you can see the proboscis is not yet fully zipped.

“Following the rhythm of the seasons, celebrated landscape designer Kim Smith presents a stunning slide show and lecture demonstrating how to create a welcoming haven for bees, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Native plants and examples of organic and architectural features will be discussed based on their value to particular vertebrates and invertebrates.”

Sometimes they just don't want to leave home🌻#monarchbutterfly

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Day of the Dead: A Celebration of Life and Death

Happy All Souls Day!

You may have noticed that this year’s Dia de los Muertos Google Doodle is meant to look like traditional Mexican Papel Picado.screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-9-44-09-am

Sugar Skull Drawing by Local Artist Jeff Cluett

jeff-cluett-sugar-skullThe above drawing was created by local artist Jeff Cluett. We purchased it from him several years ago. Jeff works at Surfari on Main Street if you’d like to get in touch with him.

Last evening, All Hallow’s Eve, marked the beginning of the three day celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Today, November 1st, is Dia de los Angelitos, the day when deceased children are honored (All Saints Day). Tomorrow, November 2nd, is referred to as Dia de los Muertos or Dia de los Difuntos, the day when deceased adults are honored (All Souls Day). We’ve created an ofrenda on our front porch and neighbors are welcome to place a photo of a loved one who has passed on the altar.