The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is calling on Ohioans for a second year of milkweed pod collections. This project started in 2015 as a seven-county pilot and last year hundreds of Ohioans worked together, said Judy Krebs, education coordinator for the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD).
Since then the volunteers have collected approximately 5,000 gallons of common milkweed seed pods, totaling more than 22 million seeds. Milkweed is the only host plant for the monarch butterfly for egg laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for monarchs as well as many other pollinator species.
The disappearance of milkweed across the United States has contributed to the 80 percent decline of the Eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years. “We are working hard to change this, and we can use all the help we can get,” Krebs said.
Make sure that before you collect seeds, you become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed.
Krebs offers these tips:
Collections start Sept. 1 and continue through Oct. 30. SWCD will accept pods until Nov. 1 at its office at 1000 Locust St., Clermont County Fairgrounds, Owensville.
If you have questions regarding milkweed collection, please contact Judy Krebs at firstname.lastname@example.org , Marci Lininger at Marci.Lininger@dot.ohio.gov or Lori Stevenson at Lori_Stevenson@fws.gov.
For more information on milkweeds refer to this video: http://u.osu.edu/beelab/milkweed-seed.