McLean County Monarch Programs & Projects
The McLean County SWCD strives to protect and enhance monarch breeding and feeding habitat along with other regional pollinators. The Illinois Monarch project has lead the path to save the monarchs. We have taken the pledge and share their goal of adding 150 million new milkweed stems and other nectar resources to the Illinois landscape by 2038.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have initiated a new habitat education program for classroom use across the Country, Milkweed in the Classroom. The program was developed in relationship to the current decline of the monarch butterfly population and the need to educate students about the importance of pollinators and their habitat. The program aims to motivate students to become active and create pollinator habitat along with conservation practices that impact soil, water, air, and wildlife. Educating students about monarch butterflies and other insects that are on the decline and what they can do to provide these species with a better outcome is the major goal of this program.
Classrooms awarded received a kit that includes everything needed to grow native milkweed plants from seed (i.e. soil, milkweed seed, planting containers, grow lights, timer, water bottle, curriculum guide, grow guide). Teachers were provided with step-by-step online training videos covering how to grow milkweed plants from seed, how to plant milkweed, how to maintain a milkweed garden, and how to monitor the project all while incorporating curriculum that meets next generation national science standards along with information about monarch butterflies and other pollinators .
The three-month program starts with planting seeds in February while incorporating science and biology curriculum for every step of the growing process. In May, the milkweed plants can be planted on a site dedicated to the establishment of a milkweed garden. Lastly, teachers are oﬀered monitoring protocols so the students can monitor the success of their planting while learning about monarch butterfly ecology.