A monarch butterfly rests on a milkweed plant in southeast Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

A monarch butterfly rests on a milkweed plant in southeast Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Linn County Master Gardeners are kicking off a new “Planting For Pollinators” year,  starting with a presentation at Kirkwood Community College by the founder and director of Monarch Watch on Jan. 20, 2016.

The monarch population has been decreasing, due in large part to declining habitat and the loss of milkweed, which serves as the food source for developing caterpillars.

Learn more about the free presentation at Kirkwood, from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach:

The Linn County Master Gardeners and Kirkwood Community College would like to invite the public to a special event on January 20, 2016, to kick-off their “Planting for Pollinators” Year.

Dr. Chip Taylor, founder and Director of Monarch Watch, will be sharing his knowledge of monarchs, their basic biology, migration challenges, habitat considerations, and the status and trends in the monarch population.

The presentation is free.

Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Place: The Kirkwood Center
7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Chip is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS. Trained as an insect ecologist, he has published papers on species assemblages, hybridization, reproductive biology, population dynamics and plant demographics and pollination. Starting in 1974, Chip Taylor established research sites and directed students studying Neotropical African honey bees (killer bees) in French Guiana, Venezuela, and Mexico.

In 1992, Dr. Taylor founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies. Since then, Monarch Watch has enlisted the help of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration. This program has produced many new insights into the dynamics of the monarch migration. In 2005 Monarch Watch created the Monarch Way station program, in recognition that habitats for monarchs are declining at a rate of 6,000 acres a day in the United States. The goal of this program is to inspire the public, schools and others to create habitats for monarch butterflies and to assist Monarch Watch in educating the public about the decline in resources for monarchs, pollinators and all wildlife that share the same habitats.

For further background, visit www.monarchwatch.org and learn about pollinator presentations and more at the upcoming Linn County Master Gardener Winter Gardening Fair.