Monarch Waystations …

In the Environmental Leadership Program you will have the opportunity to choose from a range of enriching projects, and pick the project(s) that most closely align with your interests and passions.

One project you can choose is a Monarch Waystation.

In this post, you will learn what a monarch waystation is, and decisive steps you can take to save this amazing, iconic, gorgeous and troubled species (the monarch butterfly).

If you follow the steps in this post, …

  • You will become a leader in our community.
  • You will see how leadership is available to anyone with your capabilities who is ready to follow these straightforward directions.
  • You will see a vision for pursuing your dream job and dream career.

A note to those who want to work “outdoors” …

Earth & Spirit Center has abundant opportunity for hands-on outdoor learning. If you want to work outdoors right away (during the winter months), then email nhhagan@gmail.com for details about 1) invasive species removal, 2) forestry and 3) outdoor education. 

As for monarch waystations, most of the work we have to do, prior to the month of May, is indoor work.

What is a monarch waystation?

A monarch waystation is simply a flower garden that contains a mix of plants that attract and support monarch butterflies.

Why is this important?

This is important because monarch butterfly populations are down by 95% in the last 20 years, and continuing to decline.

If we plant enough monarch waystations, we can save the monarch butterfly from extinction. It’s as simple as that.

Help all pollinators …

If we save monarch butterflies, then we will help save all pollinators, because they all need a similar mix of wildflowers.

How do I get started?

Here’s how to get started…

Start with the big picture.

What would you like to make happen in Louisville and beyond?

  • Would you like to get paid to save threatened and endangered species?
  • Would you like to lead the way in Louisville, so that Louisville can lead the way in our state, region and nation? 

You can do all this … but it begins with this formula…

  • Learn ⇒ Teach ⇒ Lead

You can lead the way in saving monarch butterflies if you will learn, then teach, then lead.

The first step is to learn…

Learn from this short intro to monarch butterflies, and then we will talk about how you can partner with us to become a leader.

Key Facts about Monarch Butterflies…

  1. The monarch butterfly is the most famous insect in the world and one of one of the most beautiful insects in the world. Yet it may go extinct if we don’t act now.
  2. The monarch butterfly is an amazing creature. Weighing less than one gram, it flies 2500 miles each year from the U.S./Canada to Mexico. This journey takes two months.
  3. Monarch butterfly populations are down by 95% in the last twenty years.
  4. Populations are down mainly due to “loss of habitat” because of development, logging and farming.
  5. Some scientists believe that the monarch butterfly has been saved from extinction by home gardeners, who have planted milkweeds and native wildflowers. But we need to do much more.
  6. Milkweed and native wildflowers are readily available from reputable local nurseries and are very affordable to most gardeners.
  7. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on “milkweed” plants (genus, Asclepias).
  8. Monarch caterpillars can only eat milkweed, nothing else.
  9. Monarchs are absolutely dependent upon milkweed for reproduction. No milkweed ⇒ no monarchs.
  10. The three most common species of milkweed in Kentucky are common milkweed, swamp milkweed and butterfly weed.
  11. Adult butterflies do not eat. They drink nectar from blooming wildflowers.
  12. To survive, monarchs need a mix of native wildflowers that bloom throughout the spring, summer and fall.
  13. Monarch butterflies also need trees, as shelter from wind and rain.
  14. Monarch butterflies also need sources of water. They drink from moist/muddy places near puddles, watering holes and streams.
  15. Human “development” tends to eliminate trees and moist/muddy places, but we can compensate by providing such places in private yards and public green spaces such as parks and campuses.

Leaders are learners …

We want you to be a leader, by first becoming a learner.

Your agreement to be a learner is called your Learning Contract.

What is a Learning Contract?

Your Learning Contract determines what you will learn and how you will complete each of (about) five Learning Goals.

You will complete one Learning Goal (about) every two weeks.

What is a Learning Goal?

A Learning Goal has four components …

  • What you will learn.
  • How you will learn it.
  • Deliverables.
  • Completion date.

YOUR (SAMPLE) LEARNING CONTRACT…

You are free to use this Sample Learning Contract “as is”, or adapt it to fit your aspirations.

If you follow the steps of this Learning Contract, …

  • You will be able to comfortably, easily and fluently speak to clubs and community groups about how to establish a monarch waystation.
  • You will easily develop a set of “digital assets” (website and/or a Facebook page) that will serve as powerful teaching tools and add credibility to your message.
  • You will have all the skills and experience you need to be a community leader in this area.

LEARNING GOAL #1

What I will learn: I will explain and describe my five favorite native wildflowers, including …

  • The common name
  • The scientific name
  • The color of the bloom
  • When it blooms
  • Height
  • Ideal soil moisture (dry, wet or medium)
  • Ideal sunshine (sun, shade or partial sun)
  • Does this plant serve as a “larval host plant”? If so, for what insect species?

Note: It is recommended that three of these five plants be: Common milkweed, swamp milkweed and butterfly weed. 

How I will learn:

  • I will ask my group leader for guidance.
  • I will search online for helpful articles, pictures and videos.
  • I will share my findings on our Facebook group “Earth & Spirit Environmental Leadership Program”, and invite helpful feedback, in the form of Facebook “comments”.
  • I will practice explaining my findings with friends over the phone or in person.

Deliverables:

  • I will explain my findings via live presentation to my fellow participants.
  • I will set up a (free and easy) Facebook page or a (free and easy) WordPress website and post my findings.

Completion date: (Allow about 2 weeks per Learning Goal)

LEARNING GOAL #2

What I will learn: Same as Learning Goal #1, except that I will learn and explain five more of my favorite wildflowers.

How I will learn: Same as LG #1.

Deliverable: Same as LG #1, except that I will be able to explain and describe all ten of my favorite wildflowers.

Completion date: (Allow about 2 weeks per Learning Goal)

Benefits of successfully completing Learning Goals 1-2…

  • You will know more than 99% of people about the wildflowers that monarch butterflies need.
  • You will appear to be an expert because, in a very important sense, you are an expert.
  • You will sound like a gardener with years of experience.

LEARNING GOAL #3

What I will learn: I will learn and explain ten interesting facts about the monarch butterfly.

How I will learn:

  • I will ask my group leader.
  • I will read the “Key Facts” listed above.
  • I will search online for interesting articles and videos.
  • I will post my findings in our Facebook group “Earth & Spirit Environmental Leadership Program”, and invite helpful feedback from other group members.
  • I will practice explaining my findings with friends over the phone or in person.

Deliverables:

  • I will explain my findings to my fellow interns in a presentation at Earth & Spirit Center.
  • I will post my findings on my own Facebook page or website.

Completion date: (Allow about 2 weeks per Learning Goal)

LEARNING GOAL #4
What I will do: I will formulate a list of ten things I want people to do so as to help monarch butterflies.

Note: By clarifying what you want your audience to do, you are making your content relevant, engaging and actionable. Most people are not comfortable asking others to take action, but you will be. 

Note well: People are free to NOT take the actions you recommend, but at least they will know where you are coming from and what you want them to do.

How I will do this (how I will formulate my list):

  • I will brainstorm the actions I want people to take.
  • I will ask my group leader for input.
  • I will share my list with in the Facebook group Earth & Spirit    Environmental Leadership Program and invite feedback.
  • I will practice sharing my list with others via phone and in person.

Deliverables:

  • I will share my list via live presentation in a group meeting.
  • I will share my list on my website or my own Facebook page (not your personal Facebook feed, but a page you have set up expressly for this internship).

Completion date: (Allow about 2 weeks per Learning Goal)

LEARNING GOAL #5

What I will create: I will create a live presentation that I will deliver to a campus group or a garden club. My live presentation will include:

  • Interesting facts about monarchs.
  • Engaging images (via slideshow or website) featuring wildflowers, butterflies, etc. 
  • Actions that I want people to take.

How I will create it.

  • I will draw upon my knowledge and skills from LEARNING GOALS 1-4.

Deliverables:

  • A practice talk delivered to my fellow participants in a meeting.
  • A talk delivered to a campus group or community group.

Ideas for audiences … 

Besides campus groups, you might also consider presenting to any of the following…

  • Garden clubs
  • Bird clubs
  • City councils and neighborhood associations.

You can present to meetings of nonprofits, such as …

  • Kentucky Waterways Alliance
  • Sierra Club

You can present to a “lunch and learn” at a nursery or landscaper that you’d like to work for, such as …

  • Dropseed Nursery.
  • Roundstone Native Seed.
  • Hidden Hill Nursery

If desired, you may co-present with a fellow participant or a group leader.

 

Conclusion…

Having read this post, can you see yourself in a leadership role?

We hope you see that — in just a few hours a month — you can become a leader in our community.

If this is an exciting vision that you want to pursue, your next steps are to 1) attend a meeting, 2) work with a leader to fashion your goals, and 3) email nhhagan@gmail.com if you have any questions.

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