The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative is calling on Ohioans for another year of milkweed pod collections.
The Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District is collecting milkweed pods again this year. Bring them to 8770 State Route 108 in Wauseon.
The milkweed project started in 2015 as a seven-county pilot, and last year hundreds of Ohioans worked together. Since then the 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. To help stop the decrease, follow these 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.
Collections run from Sept. 1 to Oct. 30, although pods will be accepted until Nov. 1. To find the nearest collection site visit www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/SWC/searchlocalSWCD.aspx. For more information, contact Marci Lininger at Marci.Lininger@dot.ohio.gov or Lori Stevenson at Lori_Stevenson@fws.gov.