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Sat, May 21

Butterfly program in VOC recommended for funding

Several species of milkweed are grown at the VOC community garden. (USDA)

Several species of milkweed are grown at the VOC community garden. (USDA)

VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK – A proposal to provide habitat for monarch butterflies in the Village of Oak Creek was among projects recommended for funding by the Yavapai Resource Advisory Committee.

Flagstaff entomologist Mike Wagner of Northern Arizona University estimated a need of around $26,000 for his plans at Big Park Community School campus. The Yavapai RAC recommended giving the project $25,000 in funding from the U.S Forest Service’s Secure Rural Schools Title II Program for special projects tied to the national forests.

The proposal involves the VOC Community Garden, established with Rotary of Sedona Village through Sedona-Oak Creek School District. It is part of the nonprofit Arizona Milkweed for Monarchs based in Flagstaff. Wagner is the president/CEO. That program grows 15 species of milkweed, which as an important pollinator for several insects and is the only plant on which monarch butterflies lay eggs.

“Small scale plantings of milkweeds and pollinator plants in 2021 resulted in a noticeable increase in monarchs from mid-September to mid-November at the VOC Community Garden,” Wagner stated in his application. “Migrating monarchs had a generation during this period and their offspring continued the migration believed to be heading for overwintering sites in Mexico. Interpretation of the amazing migration of monarchs through the Coconino National Forest and the Village of Oak Creek is an opportunity for NAU Monarch Butterfly Interns to develop a public outreach and educational program.”

The requested funding is primarily for salaries and materials, which will result in monarch data, educational signs, self-guided tours and school field trips.

“AZ Milkweeds for Monarchs has demonstrated, albeit in a modest way, that the planting of milkweeds, nectar, and pollen plants can attract migrating monarchs that will produce a generation and add to the population of this species in peril,” Wagner noted.

The VOC Community Garden is located on the baseball field at Big Park Community School, 25 W. Saddlehorn Road. The Garden will have a Plant Sale on April 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Accepting cash and Venmo.

Other county projects recommended by the Yavapai RAC for funding were the Blowout Wash Trail, Arizona Conservation Corps Assistance, Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition Assistance, Upper Verde River Corridor Watershed Restoration, Equitable Access to Outdoor Recreation, Forest Road 9402R Conversion to Admin Use, Federal Trail Stewardship Act and Crown king Road Repair.

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