SIDNEY — The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is calling on Ohioans for another year of milkweed pod collections.
The project started in 2015 as a seven-county pilot and since that time hundreds of Ohioans have worked together collecting thousands of pods across the state. Volunteers have collected approximately 5,000 gallons of common milkweed seed pods, totaling over 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 U.S. 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 you can help,” said Sophie Hurley, Soil and Water Conservation educator. “Let’s make our collection efforts in 2019 even better by following some simple tips.”
• Make sure that before you collect seed, you become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed
• It is best to collect the pods when they are dry, grey, or brown. It is important to check this
• If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be harvested.
• Store the pods in paper bags; plastic bags collect unwanted moisture.
• Put the date and county collected on the bag when you turn them in.
• Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver them to the nearest collection site.
• Drop collected pods off at Shelby SWCD 822 Fair Road, Sidney, Ohio or your closest Soil and Water Conservation District Office.
Collections start Sept. 1 and goes until Oct. 30.
If you have questions regarding milkweed collection locally here in Shelby County contact The Shelby Soil and Water and Conservation District Office at 937- 492-6520 ext 3 or the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, Marci Lininger at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lori Stevenson at Lori_Stevenson@fws.gov.
For more information on Milkweeds refer to this video! http://u.osu.edu/beelab/milkweed-seed/.