Posted on May 14, 2014 in Campus News and News
Orley “Chip” Taylor, KU professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and director of Monarch Watch, the monarch butterfly conservation, education and research organization headquartered on West Campus, is one of four winners of the 2014 Growing Green Awards, presented May 14 in San Francisco.
Sponsored by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the awards recognize individuals in four categories. Taylor is being honored as a Pollinator Protector for his role at Monarch Watch, which he founded at KU in 1992 as a tagging program that enlisted hundreds of citizen scientists to track the butterfly’s epic migration each fall from Canada to Mexico. Monarch populations have dropped 90 percent since then, and in 2005 Monarch Watch began distributing milkweed—the only plant on which monarch larvae feed—to schools, nonprofit groups and gardeners in a bid to help stem the milkweed decline, which Taylor attributes to intensive farming practices like increased tilling and chemical weed control. Monarch Watch also started a Monarch Waystation program, which encourages people to add milkweed and nectar plants to their gardens. “It’s been a moderately successful program,” Taylor says. “We have something like 7,600 registered sites across the country, but we need about 7 million. So we need all those gardeners out there to join us in the fight to save this monarch migration.”
The Growing Green Award “allows us to have a program where we can advertise that we will distribute free milkweed flats to something like 180 different schools and nonprofits,” Taylor says in a video profile on the NRDC website. “We’re halfway there and we’re having a lot of fun with it.”
To view the video and read Taylor’s blog post, click here.