Abandoned Mine Land and monarch butterfly conservation field day planned for September 7 near Bussey

Iowa State University Extension

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms will host a monarch butterfly conservation field day Thursday, September 7th. The 10:00a.m.-12:00 p.m. field day will be held at the Logan Abandoned Mine Land Site near Bussey. The field day is free and open to the public and includes a complimentary meal. The field day is in partnership with Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Pathfinders RC&D.

The Logan Abandoned Mine Land (AML) site was a high priority project and the largest one reclaimed in one contract. Completed in fall 2016, the project has reduced the hazard to public health and safety while continuing to improve water quality and provide floodplain relief for Turkey Run Creek. The private landowner is very motivated to keep it a natural area surrounded by CRP ground and is participating in a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant project that helped establish 84 acres of monarch butterfly habitat.

As pollinators, monarch butterflies are important to Iowa agriculture, landowners and citizens. Monarch butterflies populations have decreased by nearly 80 percent in the last twenty years. They continue to face many challenges including the loss of milkweed and nectar plant habitat in its spring and summer breeding ranges. Female monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed plants, and the hatched caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. AML sites provide a great opportunity to establish monarch habitat, as do roadsides, rights-of-way, ditches and home or community gardens.

The field day will begin with an introduction from Jim Gillespie, Director of Soil Conservation and Water Quality. Logan AML Project Coordinator, Randy Cooney, will discuss the reclamation process, the AML program and how monarch habitat can be easily incorporated. Seth Appelgate, ISU Monarch Workgroup, will share details about current research projects and opportunities to establish monarch habitat.

The field day will be held at the Logan Abandoned Mine Land Site near Bussey. From Bussey, head east on Co Hwy G71/310th Street for 5.5 miles. Turn left to go north on Elba Avenue for 0.3 miles. The site is on the west side of the road and will be marked with field day signs.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email ilf@iastate.edu.

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website: www.iowalearningfarms.org.

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

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