The Monarch Alliance News

April 2018 Newsletter

The Migration:  As most of you know, the migration started around the middle of March, when the monarchs began leaving the Mexican sanctuaries.  Most of them have moved north into Texas and have begun moving further into Oklahoma and Arkansas. Some have been reported still at El Rosario, which reminds me of last year, when large clusters remained into early April at the sanctuaries.


But recall Chip Taylor’s admonition that the strength of the over-wintering population each year depends on the success of the first stop in Texas and Oklahoma, as well as the need for good weather during the remaining legs of the migration.  So, the first phase – the remigration – will end at the end of April, when the bulk of the remigrants will have died off.


Things are looking favorable at this point, with very large numbers being reported in Texas as well as along the Gulf Coast.


A New Board of Directors:  For the first couple of years of operation, Tracy McCleaf and I made most of the decisions for The Monarch Alliance.  Since we are becoming, I hate to use the term, “mainstream” and raising funds to give away for Monarch Waystations, there is a need for some checks and balances.  So, we have created a Board of Directors to help lead the organization. This is the new Board:


Sandy Sagalkin Co – Director

Tracy McCleaf Co – Director

Brittany Wedd Director

Jeff Unsworth Director

Ann Aldrich Director

Jim Jenkins Director

Chad McGarrah Director

Ann Payne Director

Mark Madison Director

Chris Tawney Director


I hope to provide bios for these people in a future newsletter, but all are superbly qualified.


TMA Grant Program:  I hope you will be proud of our new grant program.  We had a committee that reviewed grant applicants for this spring and awarded almost $3000 in plants for seven applicants. In addition, Ann Aldrich and I have been working on special projects to provide free monarch waystation plants to three projects, an additional over $2000 in plants.  These are the grants and projects we will be funding or providing plants to this spring:


Briggs Animal Adoption Center (Jefferson County)

Shepherd University

Wind Dance Farm Home School (Berkeley County)

North Jefferson Elementary School

For the Love of Children (FLOC) (Harpers Ferry)

Catoctin Creek Nature Center (Frederick County)

Hood College (Frederick County)

Bester Elementary School (Hagerstown)

Fort Frederick State Park (Washington County)

Pleasant Valley County Park (Washington County)


In addition, we will be providing monarch rearing cages to Fort Frederick State Park and the Hancock Library.  We hope to use the cages to provide educational opportunities about the migration.


West Virginia Monarch Summit:  In March, I participated in the West Virginia Monarch Summit in Jackson’s Mill, WV.  This was a first ever effort in WV to provide a general gathering of 79 residents of WV interested in Monarch conservation.  Monarch Joint Venture provided the biological reference for the meeting and I provided information on The Monarch Alliance’s programs.  This was a great effort and WV DNR is currently preparing what’s next in the program.


Thus far, The Monarch Alliance is the only WV organization with a programmatic approach to monarch conservation.


Spring Milkweed and Native Plant Sale/Fundraiser:  Every year, our spring and fall native plant sale/fundraiser grows bigger.  The date/time of the sale this year will be May 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sunny Meadows Garden Center in Sharpsburg. We will be selling four milkweeds – Butterfly Weed, Swamp Milkweed, Whorled Milkweed and Common Milkweed.  We were unable to get Butterfly Weed in our local eco-type for the spring sale, but we will be selling a garden variety Butterfly Weed. If you want the local eco-type, we will have it for our fall sale. Our other milkweeds are matched to our locale.  You will not want to plant the Common Milkweed in a garden. Rather it is most suitable for monarch meadows.


In addition, we will have a large variety of native plants and cultivars for sale.  While we are trying to move gradually to purely native, local eco-type varieties, this will take a little time.


Spring Programs:  We have a variety of programs already scheduled for the spring.  You can check them out on our website at:



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