Here’s your chance to help save monarch butterflies and pick up a little pocket money at the same time.
Minnesota Native Landscapes, a supplier of native seeds and plants, is offering a bounty on milkweed pods. The going rate is $5 for each 5-gallon bucket of pods, which is more than it might sound like, said Joe Schaffer, the firm’s president.
“Once a good group of plants has been located, it is quite easy to fill a 5-gallon bucket in less than five minutes,” he said.
Milkweed “is a very easy thing to find in almost any sunny roadside ditch, along trails or in abandoned fields. Common milkweed is very prolific, and harvesting the seed pods has no adverse effect on the plant.”
Milkweed has become valuable because it’s where the monarchs lay their eggs and it’s the only thing the larvae will eat. “We are doing our best to make as much seed available as we can to our customers to help preserve this iconic species,” Schaffer said.
Why not just leave the pods where the butterflies can find them? Because monarch eggs in the wild have a survival rate of less than 10 percent. The monarch population has rebounded slightly because of conservation efforts, but, overall, numbers are still as much as 80 percent below what they were 20 years ago.
As you collect pods, label the containers with the name of the county in which you found them. The company is interested in pods from all over the state. To arrange for pickup of harvested pods or for more information, contact Wes Olmschenk at firstname.lastname@example.org. □