If you have ventured out on the trail north of the central pond, you will find a small but mighty research house for the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership Integrated Monitoring Strategy (IMS). The butterfly house was made possible through a generous gift from the Giddings Family Trust whose matriarch Kathy had a love of all things children, community, and nature. With nearly 90% decline in just the last 20 years, the monarch butterfly has become a flagship species for pollinator conservation. A national partnership was formed of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and academic programs to consolidate efforts to conserve the monarch butterfly across the nation. If nothing is done, the species will face extinction by 2040. “We begin this project as a way to demonstrate that urban parks like Fenner can have a conservation impact and do contribute to the management of critical species.” said Liz Roxberry, Executive Director for Fenner Nature Center. “This building not only will house monarchs for public viewing, but will allow critical research to take place. Monitoring for parasitoids like tachinid flies and Ophryocystis elektroscirrha will provide valuable information that helps our partners to identify best practices for management, so that eventually, we can see increased survival and reproduction rates in our localized populations.” Thanks to a grant from Monarch Watch, volunteers also planted 240 milkweed plugs in June of 2017 out in the prairie. “Loss of milkweed and nectar habitat here in the US is a major contributing factor to the rapid decline of the eastern monarch population. We need all hands on deck to slow this decline before it is too late. Plantings like the one at Fenner are critical to seeing this happen” said Evan Pugh with the Monarch Joint Venture. If you would like to learn more about the Monarch Joint Venture Program and the Monarch Conservation Science Partnership IMS or are interested in the work being done at Fenner Nature Center, contact us at 517-483-4224. You may also complete the form below. Thank you!