Van Wert Soil & Water Conservation District is Participating in
Statewide Milkweed Pod Collection
Pollinator species are experiencing population declines across the US. In particular, the monarch butterfly has drastically declined here in Ohio and in the wintering grounds of Mexico. In response to this decline the Ohio Division of Wildife and other partners have created the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) to educate the public and help create beneficial habitat to pollinators such as the monarch butterfly. OPHI formed after the 2014 petition to list the monarch as federally endangered or threatened. The group’s primary focus is to find opportunities and other partners to assist in the efforts to create habitat.
To help foster the creation of habitat for the monarch butterfly, OPHI in cooperation with Ohio Soil & Water Conservation Districts is organizing a Statewide Milkweed Pod Collection this year starting September 1 and ending October 30. Milkweed is essential to the survival of Monarch Butterflies in Ohio and Ohio is a priority area for Monarchs. The monarch butterflies that hatch here in the summer migrate to Mexico for the winter and are responsible for starting the life cycle all over again in the spring. During September – October everyone is encouraged to collect Milkweed Pods from established plants and drop them off at the Van Wert SWCD.
To collect the seed pods from a milkweed plant it is best to pick them when they are dry, gray, or brown in color. If the center seams pop with gentle pressure, they can be picked. It is best to collect pods into paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Mark on the sack: the county the milkweed came from, date/time and if other than common milkweed; which species of milkweed was collected. Avoid using plastic bags because they attract moisture. Store seeds in a cool, dry area until you can deliver to the Van Wert SWCD’s pod collection bin which is located outside of the door at 1185 Professional Drive, Van Wert. Harvesting pods from milkweed plants does not have any effect on the population of milkweed in established areas.
All milkweed pods collected during this time will be processed by OPHI partners and all of the seed collected will be used to establish new plantings and create additional habitat for the Monarch Butterfly throughout Ohio. When collecting milkweed pods wear appropriate clothing and it is recommended that you wear disposable gloves when handling the pods. Contact the Van Wert SWCD will questions at: 419 238-9591.
The Van Wert SWCD held their 72nd Annual Meeting by co-hosting with the Van Wert Farm Bureau at the Ag Banquet on Tuesday, August 10 at the Council on Aging, Van Wert, OH. A SWCD election was held for two supervisor positions on the SWCD Board of Supervisors five member Board. Elliot Callow and Richard Rice were elected to serve a three year term commencing January 1, 2022.
Dinner was provided by Gibson’s Barnyard BBQ.
Tristin Miller was honored as SWCD Scholarship recipient. Bob Gehres was recognized by the SWCD and received the Conservation Farm Award. This award is given to honor individuals for their conservation achievements. Farm Bureau honored their scholarship recipient.
Farm Bureau presented Farewell and Friend of Ag Awards. The Van Wert Ag Hall of Fame Award was presented to Ron Schumm for his many agricultural education accomplishments.
Van Wert County Foundation spoke on AG + Philanthrophy, Farm Bureau, AG Credit and the Soil and Water Conservation District all spoke on what each agency has been doing over the past year.
Sponsors for the evening were: Van Wert County Foundation, Farm Bureau, and the Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District.