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Image by Tim Mossholder

Pollinator Corridors in the Madrean Archipelago

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Borderlands Restoration Network was honored to be a recipient of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund for the project Expanding Seed Sources and Creating Pollinator Corridors in the Madrean Archipelago. The project will improve the habitat for the endangered monarch butterfly along its migratory route through the Arizona/Sonora borderlands. 

 

This two-year project establishes a one-acre milkweed seed amplification plot at the Borderlands Restoration Farm, restores milkweed and pollinator nectar species at the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve, and engages the community in milkweed for monarch butterfly restoration through free workshops, hikes, and volunteer opportunities.

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MAIN ACTIVITIES

SEED COLLECTION

Collect seed from our local, native milkweed populations and propagate it at Borderlands Nursery & Seed. Plants produced at the nursery will be planted into a one-acre farmed milkweed seed plot that will produce seed for monarch habitat restoration for years to come.

RESTORATION

Collect pollinator plant seeds and then pelletize them. Apply the pellets to erosion control structures built by BRN's Watershed Restoration Program in the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve, increasing nectar plants on the landscape to improve habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

HABITAT

CoNNECTIVITY

Plant 1,000 milkweeds over four different habitat restoration sites at the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve to improve habitat connectivity for monarch butterflies. 

ENGAGEMENT

OPPORTUNITIES

Host four milkweed workshops, two hikes, and one volunteer planting event. 

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NATIVE MILKWEED

This project continues our efforts of local ecotypic native seed collection to increase seed at our 60-acre farm in Patagonia, Arizona. We do this through priority milkweed and nectar forb species lists for wild seed collection in coordination with federal partners and private landowners.

 

The one-acre farm plot we plan to establish will have eight or more native milkweed species (Asclepias angustifolia, A. asperula, A. linaria, A. subverticillata, A. involucrata, A. tuberosa, A. oenotheroides, A. speciosa, A. elata, A. nummularia, and Funastrum cynanchoides), and will regenerate seed for years to come without having to collect so much from wild sources.

Milkweed plants (Genus Asclepias & Funastrum) are host plants for monarchs, meaning they are caterpillar food. The caterpillar larvae eat mostly the leaves and stems of milkweed plants, filled with toxic latex sap containing cardiac glycosides, which protect the caterpillar by making them unsavory to birds and other predators. However, monarch butterflies depend not only on milkweeds but also on a variety of native nectar flowering species to sustain the butterfly once it is in adult flight form. These include late summer and fall blooming species like Ericameria and a plethora of other asters. Southern Arizona hosts dozens of nectar species perfect for monarch butterflies on their migration.

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RESOURCES

Monarch Butterflies Listed as Endangered: How We Can Help

In August 2022, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the monarch butterfly as endangered due to loss of habitat and increased use of herbicides and pesticides, as well as climate change. Although heartbreaking, this is not surprising to naturalists and butterfly aficionados as scientists have documented monarch butterfly numbers dwindle drastically over the last decades.

BN&S Monarch Butterfly CollectioN

We have created a collection of our own plants and seeds that support monarch butterflies and help many other pollinators while supporting overall biodiversity. All our seeds and container plants are sourced regionally and are grown without pesticides. You can help support this iconic butterfly in your own landscape.

BUYING BEE SAFE NURSERY PLANTS

Check out this helpful guide created by Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation on how to protect pollinators from pesticides by buying bee-safe plants.

Generously funded by: 

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Questions about this project?

Contact us at horticulture@borderlandsrestoration.org.

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