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Honeybees show us that when we team up, we can really make a difference. Beecatur is always looking for ways to collaborate with other local groups who share similar goals. We just kicked off a new ambassador program where we invite speakers from other environmental and pollinator advocacy groups to our monthly meetings to share about their efforts and explore ways to work together.

Susan Meyers of Monarchs across Georgia joined the March Beecatur meeting to fill us in on some of the important work her group is doing to to inspire caretakers of the natural environment through monarch and pollinator education. Monarchs across Georgia, a committee of the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia, works together with teachers, students, families, communities, businesses and others to study monarchs and restore butterfly habitat across the state. MAG also partners with Monarch Joint Venture in a unified effort to implement science-based conservation actions in the form of education, habitat, and research.

Most of us are probably aware that monarchs are in peril. The Beecatur team was surprised to learn that although we might feel like we're helping monarchs by planting milkweed we buy nearby nurseries, we may actually be hurting them. Susan informed us that all milkweeds aren't created equal; some tropical milkweeds (the ones you usually find at the big box stores, unfortunately) carry a pathogen that's making monarchs sick. Additionally, non-native milkweeds may provide inadequate nutrition for the butterflies that seek them out. They may also hybridize with native milkweeds, resulting in the loss of the native species monarchs really need. MAG's website hosts a terrific list of sources of native milkweeds for your garden. And click here for a .pdf brochure outlining how important it is to pick the right variety.

Speaking of flowers, do you have a pollinator friendly garden? Think about making official with Monarchs across Georgia's Pollinator Habitat Certification program. Gardeners whose sites provide native milkweed, host plants for five butterfly species, nectar sources, and other essentials can apply for certification. Learn more about Pollinator Habitat Certification.

Beecatur will co-present National Pollinator Week programing with Monarchs across Georgia this June. We're honored to work alongside them to protect pollinators and their habitats.

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