Annual Milkweed Pod Collection, Sept 1 to Oct 30

Help save the monarch butterfly by protecting native milkweed, a vital food source.  The Iconic monarch butterfly, which has long been a welcome sight in backyard gardens across Ohio, faces many threats,  In Ohio, one way we can ensure future generations of monarch butterflies continue to visit flower gardens throughout our state is by protecting native milkweed plants.  

Every years in the fall, monarch butterflies across the eastern U.S. and Canada begin a 3,000 mile long journey down to wintering grounds in Mexico.  In the spring, these same butterflies head back north, and delight us with their presence once again.  However, this amazing journey would not be possible without milkweed, a group of plants critical to the survival of the monarch butterfly.  As butterflies, monarchs can feed on the nectar of a number of different flowering plants, but as caterpillars, monarchs are entirely dependent on the availability of milkweed.

Monarch caterpillars hatch from eggs laid on milkweed plants and feed on the leaves of the plant as they grow.  If these plants are mowed, removed or sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, the caterpillars will not survive.  Protecting these plants, especially during the egg-laying period from July through September, helps both monarch butterflies and caterpillars continue their life cycle and ultimately results in more monarch butterflies that can complete their journey to Mexico and back.

In the past, milkweed was view as a toxic weed.  Today, we know that milkweed is a very important group of native plants that helps support many species of wildlife, including monarch butterflies.

Logan Soil and Water Conservation District is a drop site for you milkweed pod collections. When taking a fall hike, take a paper bag along with you and collect a bag full of dried milkweed pods. You may drop off your seed collections at the SWCD office, 324 Rd 11, Bellefontaine, OH, Monday thru Friday, 7:30 - 4:30. Seed collection will be accepted thru October 30, 2019.  

 

Statewide Pod Collection, 2019

Pollinator Species are experiencing population declines across the United States. In particular,
the monarch butterfly has drastically declined here in Ohio and in the wintering grounds of Mexico.
In response to this decline, the Ohio Division of Wildlife and other partners have created the Ohio
Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) to educate the public and help create beneficial habitat to
pollinators such as the monarch butterfly. OPHI formed after the 2014 petition to list the monarch
as federally endangered or threatened. The group’s primary focus is to find opportunities and other
partners to assist in the efforts to create habitat.

To help foster the creation of habitat for the monarch butterfly, OPHI in cooperation with Ohio
Soil and Water Conservation Districts is organizing a Statewide Milkweed Pod Collection this year
starting September 1stand ending October 30th. Milkweed is essential to the survival of Monarch
Butterflies in Ohio and Ohio is a priority area for Monarchs. The monarch butterflies that hatch
here in the summer migrate to Mexico for the winter and are responsible for starting the life cycle
all over again in the spring.  During September- October everyone is encouraged to collect Milkweed
Pods from established plants and drop them off at the nearest pod collection station. The majority
of Ohio Counties have a Milkweed Pod Collection Station most of them being located at the local
Soil and Water Conservation District office. You can find the location of your local SWCD office:
http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/SWC/SearchLocalSWCD.aspx

To collect the seed pods from a milkweed plant it is best to pick them when they are dry, gray, or brown in color. If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked. It is best to
collect pods into paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Avoid using plastic bags because they attract moisture. Store seeds in a cool, dry area until you can deliver to the closest pod collection area. Harvesting pods from milkweed plants does not have any effect on the population of milkweed in established areas.

Drop off your seed pods at Logan Soil and Water Conservation District, 324 Rd 11, Bellefontaine,
OH.  Our office is open Monday thru Friday, 7:30 to 4:30.  Seed collection will be accepted thru October 30, 2019.