As we approach monarch conservation from all angles, we rely on partners who work in different arenas, with different, yet related, expertise. Focusing on restoration of native plants in the urban landscape, the MJV is pleased to welcome Metro Blooms, a Minnesota Twin Cities based metropolitan group working “to promote and celebrate gardening, to beautify our communities and help heal and protect our environment”.
One major initiative of Metro Blooms is their Blue Thumb – Planting for Clean Water® work which focuses on habitat restoration projects for multiple benefits of clean water and support for pollinators, including monarchs. This effort is currently running a campaign, “Pledge to Plant—for Pollinators and Clean Water”, setting a goal to install 10,000 plantings by 2020. Milkweeds and other nectar sources for monarchs are encouraged in every planting! This plan incorporates individuals, businesses, and corporations pledging to plant for pollinators and clean water. Through education and outreach pledges collected through this campaign for pollinator and clean water improvements will be shared with efforts like the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.
Metro Blooms was founded originally as Blooming Boulevards, an organization created to utilize the underutilized space within the boulevard or right-of-way. “By creating beautiful plantings, we enhanced the aesthetic of these often left over spaces and provided additional space for pollinator habitat,” says Becky Rice, Executive Director. As their work expanded past the boulevard, the organization changed shape and a new name exemplified a new commitment to eco-friendly gardening throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area. In 2005, several partnerships with cities and watershed districts sprouted to create and maintain raingarden habitats and deliver information relevant for those habitats. Since 2009, they have worked hand-in-hand with many partners and volunteers and have installed more than 450 raingardens. As they continue to educate and promote planting natives for clean water, they emphasize the need to create pollinator (including monarch) habitat.
As a flagship species, it is important for us to consider multiple benefits that monarch habitat can bring to different landscapes. “Metro Blooms is a prime example of how we can utilize existing structures and partnerships to expand conservation for monarchs and other species. I’m excited to welcome Metro Blooms to the MJV as they continue to integrate monarch, pollinator, and clean water initiatives into a larger native plant habitat conservation message” says MJV coordinator, Wendy Caldwell.
Read more about the Monarch Joint Venture on their website here: www.monarchjointventure.org