You may have noticed less butterflies in your garden over the past few summers. This is mainly due to the lack of habitat needed for these species to live and raise their young. Pollinator gardens provide important habitat for wildlife. Adding native flowers to your garden is an easy way to attract butterflies and other vital and diminishing species, including native bees, fireflies, and migratory songbirds.
Nebraska Monarchs is providing a great opportunity to bring back butterflies to Omaha. In a partnership with the Save Our Monarchs Foundation (SOM) and through a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Monarchs is delivering free pollinator plants to families who are curious about adding a pollinator garden to their yard.
Plants for the giveaway are locally sourced from Midwest Natives Nursery, a greenhouse located in Lincoln, Nebraska that specializes in the sustainable cultivation of native perennial flowers and grasses. Becki Chandler, Education Specialist for Nebraska Monarchs, collaborated with Midwest Natives Nursery to provide a selection of plants that serve as food sources for pollinators, are aesthetically pleasing, and thrive in Omaha gardens.
If you would like to receive native plants delivered in the Omaha metro area free of charge, sign up at www.NEMonarchs.com/FreePlants. Sign up must be completed by April 30th and is open to 250 households. Plants will be ready for delivery in mid-May. Participants will be notified with confirmation of sign up and follow up with expected delivery dates.
This year SOM will provide thousands of pollinator plants to help establish quality pollinator habitat throughout Nebraska. “The scientific research is in, we need more habitat,” says Ward Johnson, Executive Director of the foundation. The group is working on the eastern migratory flyway that extends from the 100th parallel running through Nebraska to the eastern seaboard of Canada, the United States and Mexico. Randall Gilbert, the group’s program director, says “We are really a group of concerned citizens and activists focused on getting plants that benefit Monarchs and other pollinators in the ground and increasing habitat.”
These efforts are part of Nebraska Monarchs mission to educate the public about milkweed, the only plant Monarch caterpillars can eat, and SOM’s Corridors for Pollinators program, which works with utility companies, like OPPD, and other right-of-way holders to manage properties as pollinator habitat. To date the SOM program has helped restore or enhance over 15,000 acres since beginning in 2015, while Nebraska Monarchs has given away milkweed seeds to over 5,000 individual gardeners since 2019.
To learn more about Nebraska Monarchs, visit www.NebraskaMonarchs.com.
To learn more about Save Our Monarchs foundation, visit www.SaveOurMonarchs.org.
To learn more about Midwest Natives Nursery, visit www.midwestnativesnursery.square.site.