The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will join its partners in the Arkansas Monarch Conservation Partnership to attend the 2017 Monarch and Pollinator Summit, held Oct. 12 at Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock.
Populations of the monarch butterfly have declined significantly in the past several years, and the species is currently under consideration for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act. Other pollinator populations are also experiencing declines, causing concern for the health of our ecosystems and food production. This concern was the cause for the first Arkansas Monarch Summit, held in November 2015. This two-day meeting brought together a diverse group of conservation practitioners, educators, university staff, gardeners and private citizens to learn about monarchs and pollinators and discuss needs for conserving these important species.
"A lot of the restoration work that benefits the Monarch will ultimately benefit other pollinator species," said Allison Fowler, Wildlife Diversity Program coordinator for the AGFC. "Pollinators are essential to the health of ecosystems and for sustaining habitat for other wildlife. They also are a key component in the production of many agricultural crops."
The 2015 summit laid the groundwork for what is now the Arkansas Monarch Conservation Partnership, a state-level collaboration of state and federal agencies, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and private individuals working together to promote conservation of monarch butterflies, pollinators, and their habitats. For the past two years, the AMCP has been working on the development of a statewide conservation plan for monarchs and pollinators. This plan includes goals and objectives for habitat creation/restoration, research and monitoring and education and outreach.
This second Monarch and Pollinator Summit will focus on the unveiling of the draft Arkansas Monarch and Pollinator Conservation Plan. Elements of the plan will be introduced and discussed and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments. Break-out sessions will encourage focused discussion on key elements of the plan. Comments and input received at the meeting will be used to improve and finalize the plan.
In addition, presentations will be given on:
The current status of the monarch and Arkansas’s role in conservation,
Diversity, biology, and importance of pollinators,
Success stories of how pollinator-friendly habitat is working in Arkansas, and
Creating and managing for monarch and pollinator habitat on utility rights-of-way.
Exhibits and displays will also be available by meeting sponsors.
Anyone who is interested in pollinator conservation is invited to attend. Registration is free.
Visit www.arkansasmonarchs.org to learn more about the partnership and register for the summit.