ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amid a report last week showing the over-wintering population of monarch butterflies in central Mexico has fallen by 27 percent in 2016, Pheasants Forever has emerged as a national leader for conserving habitat critical to monarchs and is implementing strategies to restore the once thriving species. The organization is aiming to surpass one billion milkweed stems established by 2020 for the monarch butterfly, the most of any conservation entity in the United States.
"By implementing some of the most diverse habitat seeding specifications in the country, Pheasants Forever is accomplishing its mission for conserving quality upland habitat with the most positive impacts for monarchs, pollinators and upland game birds," stated Pete Berthelsen, director of habitat partnerships for Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever and one of the country's leading pollinator experts. "We're on track to help deliver the goals set forth by the National Pollinator Action Plan, including establishing over one billion milkweed stems by the year 2020; the most vital plant species in the lifecycle of the monarch butterfly."
The conservation organization's mission is focused on creating high quality habitat for pheasants and quail. It's that very same habitat, filled with diverse grasses and forbs (flowering plants), that is critical to a wide array of wildlife species and insects. As a natural extension of creating the highest quality habitat for all wildlife, the organization has made a point of including milkweed in their seed mixes. These habitat projects also perfectly overlap the footprint for recovering the country's most critical monarch breeding areas of the Midwest, Great Plains, and Great Lakes.
Last year alone, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever planted over 326 million milkweed seeds to enhance the overall quality of upland habitat in the United States while providing a critical resource for monarchs, honey bees, and other wildlife. This number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming year. Additionally, the conservation group has now entered into an innovative partnership – the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund – that will be a frontrunner for national efforts to restore forage and breeding habitat for the iconic butterfly within its primary migration corridor.
The plight of the monarch and solutions to combat its dwindling populations will be points of emphasis at the upcoming "Bees, Butterflies, Birds & You" Pollinator Symposium held next week in Minneapolis, Minnesota as part of the organization's National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic. Eight of the nation's top pollinator experts will highlight new programs, strategies and research being used to restore monarchs and other pollinators to their once stable populations. The Pollinator Symposium convenes on February 17th at 12:30 p.m. in room 211 (2nd level) of the Minneapolis Convention Center.
For media inquiries regarding Pheasants Forever's national leadership role for restoring pollinator habitat or to obtain credentials for the upcoming "Bees, Butterflies, Birds & You" Pollinator Symposium, please contact Pete Berthelsen at (308) 390-0848 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 145,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $708 million on 517,000 habitat projects benefiting 15.8 million acres nationwide.
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SOURCE Pheasants Forever, Inc.