Partners for Plants
Teresa Jenson, Tracy Levine and Rachel McLean submitted an article to the summer 2016 bulletin for the Partners for Plants section, titled ‘Nose to the Ground’ a day in the life of a dog handler. The article features the Monarch Habitat Survey project DMFGC is helping with at the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, IA.
Monarch Habitat Survey
Des Moines Founders Garden Club has recently been awarded $2000 on behalf of the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge. This is year 2, of a 3 year grant program. The 2016/2017 season will focus on assessing the colonies of whorled milkweed that were located when the dog/people search teams were deployed, summer of 2015. 382 colonies of Whorled milkweed, (Asclepias verticillata) were located. This is a significant food host plant to Monarch butterflies because it is still growing during the late summer migration south to winter grounds.
Year 1, June 30, 2015- July 1, 2016; the club was awarded $3000, which helped fund the use of search teams, Dog and Handler to find Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) and Birdsfoot trefoil (Lespedeza cuneata). The simultaneous search for 2 plants, was a ‘first’ for the dogs and handlers, from the internationally recognized organization, ‘Working Dogs for Conservation.’
‘Many Hands make light work’
Spring 2016 at Neil Smith Wildlife Refuge
Wednesday, March 30, 7 DMGC members and guest volunteer spent the morning with biologist Karen Viste-Sparkman transplanting seedlings to 10” deep ‘conetainers’. Conetainers are a specialized container, 2” round by 10” deep, specifically designed to accommodate the long root growth of prairie plants. With a team of 8 people, and a few hours, translates to 24 volunteer hours and 1200 new plants for the NSWR!
Karen later guided us on a tour of a second greenhouse to see new plants this year and plants that survived over winter storage. All the plants propagated at the NSWR in 2016 will be going to nearby communities; school gardens, county and city parks natural areas, to enhance and create pollinator habitat.
The Refuge Staff was very appreciative to have DMFGC help in preparing for the ‘plant sharing’ program.
Thank you to club members; Linda Grieve, Ann Hutchins, Teresa Jenson, Kathleen Jones, Sarah O’Brien, Mary Oothout, Tracy Wheeler and guest community volunteer Louise Jenson.