Photo by Charlene Bessken/USFWS

The Birds and The Bees…and Butterflies Too!

Diverse habitat is a fundamental building block for healthy wildlife populations. That’s an axiom we all learned in Biology 101 and one that serves as the foundation for the new Honey Bee & Monarch Butterfly Partnership. Like all good ideas, the concept started with a seed. More exactly, a diverse mix of seeds.

Last year, Pheasants Forever partnered with Project Apis m. and Browning’s Honey to offer landowners in North Dakota and South Dakota a new voluntary conservation program designed specifically to create high diversity habitat for the benefit of upland birds, honey bees, and monarch butterfly populations. The principle tactic of the program was the distribution of seed mixes to plant seasonal habitat for pollinating insects, such as milkweed critical to monarch butterflies, and establish a bug-rich environment for pheasant broods.

The statistics from the program’s pilot year (2015) were impressive:

  • 1,225-acres planted using the Honey Bee & Monarch Butterfly Partnership mix
  • 67 landowners enrolled
  • $300,000 in funding assistance for landowners coming from a broad coalition of commercial beekeepers, the honey packing industry, the agricultural industry, and Pheasants Forever.

“The Honey Bee and Monarch Butterfly Partnership established a new standard for seed diversity with targeted wildlife benefits,” explains Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s President & CEO. “Armed with such clear results of success, we’re excited to expand the Honey Bee & Monarch Butterfly Partnership from our Dakota pilot to a nationwide initiative.”

Vincent continues, “Our PPJV friends know the importance of the Prairie Pothole Region to America’s monarch and pollinator rebound. The same habitat recipe for honeybees and butterflies will also grow pheasants, prairie grouse, ducks, song birds, and a wide array of other wildlife. We are looking for more partners to help us seize this historic moment in time to make a difference for the region and the critters we all love.”

For more information, contact Pheasants Forever’s Tom Fuller

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