Environmental Defense Fund Seeking Feedback

Posted by & filed under What's new.

Survey for People Involved in Monarch Habitat Restoration Work

The Environmental Defense Fund is compiling an estimate of the cost of restoring enough habitat in the northern Midwest to make a difference to the monarch population. One of their scientists, Kevin Bracy Knight, has created a survey that asks people who have done restoration how much they spent, and what results they achieved.

If you have taken part in monarch habitat restoration, please complete the survey by clicking here: https://goo.gl/forms/M1iqNCnOu8XKPGgQ2

Kevin is looking for averages of things like cost of seed per acre, and what other practices you have employed, such as mowing or burning. He is hoping to identify areas where a large-scale plan might reduce costs; for example, through increasing seed production via incentives or insurance.

Please share the link to this survey with anyone in your network who is involved in monarch habitat restoration.

A goal of this survey is to identify how to improve efficiency in recovering the monarch butterfly. Thank you for your help with this important project!

Monarch butterfly on Ironweed

“Monarch on Ironweed” by Ed Buchs, 2018 Photo Contest Pollinators entry

Visit the Online Wild Store

Posted by & filed under Shopping, What's new.

The online Wild Store is open for business!

The online Wild Store is open for your holiday shopping! You can access the store from the national website’s home page, or click here to go directly to the store.

The Wild Store has a variety of products to fulfill your Wild shopping needs.  

  • Tee shirts are a wardrobe staple
    • Both long and short sleeves are available to keep you comfortable no matter where your winter plans take you.
    • Shirts feature our popular Roots drawing by Janet Wissink or beautiful butterfly garden artwork by Joan Rudolph in addition to traditional logo designs.
  • Heavier clothing options for “sleigh ride weather”
    • New ladies’ full-zip snuggly soft fleece with pockets keep you warm without sacrificing style.
    • Unisex hoodies with the Wild Ones logo on the front or on the hood in a variety of colors for plenty of options.
  • Reading material is always the right size
    • Several options are signed by the author for that special touch!
    • Choose from our wide variety of books and guides for both children and adults.
  • Thoughtful gifts for the little ones on your list
    • Friends or families expecting a baby? Our adorable onesies let them show off their Wild side!
    • If you have grandkids, nieces or nephews to shop for, let them tell the world they’re Wild with a tee shirt or hoodie.
  • We’ve got your covered for special occasions
    • Splurging on a new car for a loved one? A beautiful monarch bumper sticker is easy to wrap than a key!
    • Attending a winter wedding? A Wild Ones gift membership and a yard sign or garden banner make a thoughtful gift to help the newlyweds landscape their new home with native plants!
  • Top it off with a great hat
    • Whether you’re venturing to the North Pole or just over the river and through the woods, we have the perfect hat for you.
    • Check out our new winter beanies for outdoor adventures, in addition to longtime favorite bucket hats and baseball caps!
    • Need camo for cover? No problem! The store has new camouflage caps to help you get close to nature without scaring off wildlife.
    • Your favorite gardener will love our new terrycloth-lined visor. It protects your face from the sun’s rays while absorbing moisture so you can concentrate on the task at hand.
    • Smaller-sized caps are now available – perfect for both women and children, they come in a great palette of colors!

Check out Wild Ones merchandise today, and know that your purchase is helping support the Wild Ones mission.

Happy shopping!


Native Plant Seeds

Posted by & filed under Education, Uncategorized.

Are Native Plant Seeds from the WILD Center Right for Me? 

Wild Ones members recently received information about native plant seeds available in exchange for a freewill donation. The national office and local volunteers collected these seeds to generate funds to cover operating expenses such as copier paper, stamps, and electricity. Our goal is to help the national office be more self-sufficient so more of Wild Ones’ general funds can be used to promote our mission and educate people on the importance of native plants in any sized landscape.

Step 1 in the decision process—are they native to your area? In deciding if you want seeds, please remember the first step is to determine which of the native plant seeds are truly native to your area. Most likely, not all species we offer are native to your area! To help determine which plants are native to your area, The National Wildlife Federation has a free Native Plant Finder tool. Just enter your ZIP code at the “Set Your Location” button at the top of the page, and you’re ready to go. Click the “Find Native Plants” to see which plants are native to your area. The plants are ranked by the number of butterfly and moth species that use them as host plants, which is a nice bonus if you want to ensure you’re using your garden space as effectively as possible. Another great site is the US Department of Agriculture’s page. It has links to information on a wide variety of plant topics.

Wild Ones’ “Guidelines for Selecting Native Plants – Local Ecotype Guidelines” may help. It states, “A native plant species is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem and/or habitat and was present prior to European settlement. With this definition in mind, Wild Ones advocates the selection of plants and seeds derived, insofar as is possible, from local or regional sources at sites having the same or similar environmental conditions as the site of planting. Such plant material is often termed the local ecotype.”

The easiest way to determine which ecoregion applies to your location is to view a great ecoregion map. Ideally, you should use seed gathered from your ecoregion whenever possible.

To help you determine if your location is appropriate for sowing the WILD Center seeds, all of the seeds we have available were gathered from northeast Wisconsin. Most of the seeds were harvested from the WILD Center grounds, which is located in Region 222.

Step 2 is seed source. Our native plant seed offering has opened the door to a candid conversation about the importance of provenance. As you likely know, another important factor in selecting seeds is their source, or provenance. Because of genetics, environmental and other conditions, seed from a specific plant gathered from one area will not be exactly the same as seed from the same species of plant gathered from another area. For details, there is a great article, “Why Locally-Sourced, Locally-Grown Native Plants Matter.”

Step 3 is the original plant source. The location from which the seeds were gathered does not tell the whole story. Another factor to consider is the source of the WILD Center plants growing on our site, the ancestors of the seed.

In the case of the WILD Center, we know that many of its original plants and seeds were sourced regionally—from southern, central, and northeastern Wisconsin. However, some may have come from southeast Minnesota or eastern Iowa, depending on the supplier and the year the original seeds or plants went in the ground. Thus, although the seeds we have available to share were collected in northeast Wisconsin, their “roots” may have originated regionally, across Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Iowa. (Regretfully, we do not have detailed seed and plant source records for when the WILD Center prairie was installed.)

Seed collection done correctly: Note that we followed proper seed collection guidelines to ensure the continued health of the original site. For this project, seeds were collected from several of each type of plant to ensure genetic variation, and about half the seeds were left on each plant so nature could continue its planting process.

Seed quality: While seed purchased from professional native seed sources is usually “pure live seed” and of a guaranteed germination rate, the seed from the WILD Center was harvested, cleaned and packaged by volunteers, not professionals. Thus, the WILD Center seed will adhere to a different standard than seed from a professional seed supply businesses. Our seeds may not always be perfect and may not be perfectly clean, but we hope the quantity provided with each order will more than make up for any seeds that do not germinate. Remember – this program is not intended to compete with professional seed suppliers, but rather to serve as a “thank you” for donations and help get more native plants in the ground.

The bottom line: it’s up to individuals to determine which plants or seeds are appropriate for their landscape. It’s important to research which plants are indeed native, but that is just a starting point and is not necessarily the only factor to consider in your planting plan.

These seeds not right for you? If you determine that seeds from the WILD Center aren’t right for you, consider making the donation and asking that seeds be sown on a local site near here where the owner has volunteered to allow us to spread native plant seeds. This option lets you share your favorite native species with others, and helps provide future pollinator habitat!

Whatever you decide, thank you for your support of Wild Ones and native plants!