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Wisconsin DNR needs your help collecting milkweed seedpods to restore monarch population

The Department of Natural Resources says that Wisconsin is "the heart of the breeding ground" for eastern migratory population of monarchs.
wild common milkweed seedpods
Posted at 11:49 AM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-03 08:54:55-04

MILWAUKEE — Residents across Wisconsin are being asked to keep an eye out for wild common milkweed seedpods. If you do spot them, you are asked to collect the pods in order to help grow habitats for native pollinators.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that nature lovers and landowners in the following counties can participate: Milwaukee, Wood, Portage, Adams, Juneau, Waushara, Marquette, Waukesha, Walworth, Jefferson and Washington.

If you see the seedpods, you are asked to harvest them from your property or another's property (with permission) from Sept. 1-30. The DNR will in turn take the seeds and use them as part of a monarch habitat restoration project in the Central Sands and Southern Kettle Moraine areas.

The DNR said only to harvest mature pods which are brownish-green or grayish-green. If the leaves are dying or falling off, the plant's pods are likely ready for picking or will be soon. Keep in mind, when collecting seedpods, leave one pod behind for every 10 you pick to encourage reseeding.

The DNR explains that Wisconsin is "the heart of the breeding ground" for eastern migratory population of monarchs. Unfortunately, their population has decreased by 80 percent during the last 20 years. 54 of the state's 72 counties are inside the breeding area cut out for the monarch butterfly habitat.

Wisconsin is also a "stronghold" for the federally endangered rusty patched bumble bee and the Karner blue butterfly.

Below are the drop-off locations for the wild common milkweed seedpods:

Central Sands Region 

Adams, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Wood counties
Contact: Tim Holme or 608-403-6243

  • Friendship Ranger Station, 532. N. Main St., Adams, WI
  • Necedah Ranger Station, 400 Birch St., Necedah, WI
  • DNR Wisconsin Rapids Service Center, 473 Griffith Ave., Wisconsin Rapids, WI
  • Plover DNR Ranger Station 2510 Maple Drive, Plover, WI
  • Wisconsin Dells Ranger Station 1242 River Road, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Southern Kettle Moraine

Milwaukee, Jefferson, Walworth and Waukesha counties
Contact: Emily Helm or 262-470-0267

  • Havenwoods State Forest, 6141 N. Hopkins St., Milwaukee, WI
  • Hausmann Nature Center at Lapham Peak, W328 W846 County Road C, Delafield, WI
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit Headquarters, S91W39091 WI-59, Eagle, WI

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