AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms will host a monarch butterfly conservation field day Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Logan Abandoned Mine Land Site near Bussey. The 10 a.m.-12 p.m. field day is free and open to the public and includes a complimentary meal. The field day is in partnership with Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Pathfinders RC&D.
The Logan Abandoned Mine Land site was a high priority reclamation project and the largest one reclaimed in one contract. Completed in fall 2016, the project has reduced the hazard to public health and safety while continuing to improve water quality and provide floodplain relief for Turkey Run Creek. The private landowner is very motivated to keep it a natural area surrounded by CRP ground and is participating in a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant project that helped establish 84 acres of monarch butterfly habitat.
Monarch butterflies are important to Iowa agriculture, landowners and citizens as pollinators, but their populations have decreased by nearly 80 percent in the last 20 years. They continue to face many challenges including the loss of milkweed and nectar plant habitat in spring and summer breeding ranges. Female monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed plants, and the hatched caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. Abandoned mine land sites provide a great opportunity to establish monarch habitat, as do roadsides, rights-of-way, ditches and home or community gardens.
The field day will begin with an introduction from Jim Gillespie, director of Soil Conservation and Water Quality. Logan AML Project Coordinator Randy Cooney will discuss the reclamation process, the AML program and how monarch habitat can be easily incorporated. Seth Appelgate, Iowa State University Monarch Workgroup, will share details about current research projects and opportunities to establish monarch habitat.
The field day will be held at the Logan Abandoned Mine Land Site near Bussey. From Bussey, head east on County Hwy G71/310th Street for 5.5 miles. Turn left to go north on Elba Avenue for 0.3 miles. The site is on the west side of the road and will be marked with field day signs.
The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.