UNH Cooperative Extension
September 15, 2021
Durham, NH – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension are asking New Hampshire residents for their donations of milkweed pods this autumn. The seeds, which will be collected throughout the state from September 15 – October 30, will be sown along with other native varieties of perennials by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to create “conservation corridors” along Granite State highways that will be planted to benefit pollinators.
While milkweed serves as a food source for many other species of pollinators, it is the exclusive host plant on which Monarch butterflies lay their eggs, and on which caterpillars feed. The decline of milkweed across the US has contributed to an 80% reduction in the eastern Monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years. State and federal agencies, conservation organizations, and others are working diligently to increase the volume of milkweed on the landscape, and individuals can help by contributing to this important resource collection effort.
Common milkweed seed pods should be collected when they are dry and grey or brown in color. They should be stored in a paper bag, labeled with their collection date and county of origin, and kept in a cool and dry place until they can be delivered to a participating collection site. It is important for participants to leave some pods on each plant to also allow for natural dispersal and localized reseeding.
For more information on best practices for collecting milkweed pods and a list of collection locations, visit extension.unh.edu/milkweed.
New Hampshire is one of many states across the butterfly’s range to include the Monarch in their state Wildlife Action Plan as a species of greatest conservation need. Conservation actions to help eastern Monarchs include planting milkweed, protecting their overwintering areas, and continuing monitoring and research of the species throughout its life cycle.
People or organizations with questions about how to participate in this new statewide initiative should contact Haley Andreozzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 862-5327 for more information.