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APRIL 2017 NEWSLETTER

The Migration: As many of you know, the remigration from Mexico occurred over a significant period of time. Some left in early March; most left around the time of the vernal equinox, March 20; and some are still there. Chip Taylor, the Director of Monarch Watch, said that the late departers might be in trouble by the time they reach Texas - it might too hot or milkweed might have started to senesce. Monarchs are a "goldilocks" species, liking it somewhere in the middle between hot and cold.

The remigrants moved into Texas in late March and the first arrivals hit Kansas this week. They are laying eggs as they move north. These monarchs will soon die off and the "first" generation will be born and continue north.

Annual Meeting: I am hoping to meet you all at our annual meeting at the National Conservation Training Center on April 29, NCTC is a wonderful facility, more like a college campus. It has an active eagles nest and great conference facilities. Our relationship with PVAS has made this possible.

Registration by Monday April 24 is required. You can register here on the PVAS website or by sending me an email at sandy.sagalkin@gmail.com.

We have an interesting day planned. First, (optional) for those of you interested in seeing the Bald Eagle and spring migrants, I will lead a bird walk from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The walk is about 2 1/2 miles of gentle walking.

I have rejiggered our schedule so that the member meeting will start at 11 a.m. Tracy McCleaf, a biologist at NCTC and I will give a presentation on the monarch migration and talk about some of the latest research on the migration.

At noon, we will have lunch in the Commons. This will be your only cost for the day.

From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. we will have a meeting of The Monarch Alliance's Coordinating Committee. Members are free to attend this meeting too. You must either leave the premises when done or be at one of the events. You will not be permitted to walk around the facility on your own.

The Monarch Alliance Educational Program and Milkweed Pickup at Kiwanis Park. This is one of our big events for the spring. The City of Hagerstown is a sponsor of this event. This year, we are using plant sales as fund raisers. Order your Butterfly Weed (orange milkweed) and Swamp Milkweed on the City of Hagerstown's website, and pick them up on May 20 at Kiwanis Park between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. No cash purchases are allowed for milkweed. Then buy your perennial plants, and more milkweed the following Saturday on May 27 at Sunny Meadows Garden Center on Sharpsburg Pike between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Upcoming actions and activities: We have been working on a number of exciting things:

--Monarch Waystation at Camp Harding, a Washington County site. The county has agreed to install a 400 square foot Monarch Waystation at Camp Harding, which is in Big Pool, MD. Ann Aldrich is working on the plan.
--Monarch Waystation at Fort Frederick, MD. Brittany Wedd's husband works there. Brittany will set us up with the right person there.
--Junior Monarch Alliance. Activities are ongoing at North Jefferson Elementary School and Discovery Station.
--Science Olympiad at North Jefferson Elementary School on April 13. Amy Moore (PVAS staff person) and I will teach the kids about the migration, play a migration game, and check out with them their new Monarch Waystation.
--Arbor Day at Kiwanis Park. TMA will talk to the kids about milkweed and migration, April 28 and play the ever popular game, Monarch Snakes and Ladders.
--Green Expo at Middletown on April 29. Ann Payne will represent TMA at this festival, which Ann helped start last year.
--Environmental Expo for Frederick County Schools on May 6. Ann Payne and I will have a booth for TMA.
--for more activities, check out our calendar on our website, www.themonarchalliance.org.

Discussions with Maryland Highway Administration: I held off sending this email as I wanted to await my telephone conference with officials from the Maryland State Highway Administration. Nationwide, state highways controls about 17 million acres of potential habitat. In some areas, it is the only relatively undisturbed habitat. Also, highways can also form important corridors for monarchs.

My call went well. In a nutshell, Maryland has pretty good Best Management Practices for highway rights of way, but staff are often up against the wall in getting mowing and maintenance done. I discussed mowing in timing windows to protect monarch habitat and possibly having some demonstration Monarch Waystations at rest stops or park and rides. Maryland State Tourism owns the rest stops, so that may be a problem. We ended the call on a high note, agreeing to talk about ways to collaborate. The highway department does not have any other monarch organizations interested in this issue.

There are two bills in the state house, SB 386 and HB 830, which would require the development of pollinator habitat management plans for lands to be designated as pollinator habitats. We need to keep an eye on this bill.

Other News: The Monarch Alliance is all set to grow. Last year, we became a partner in Monarch Joint Venture and I became a Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist for Maryland. MJV and MW are two of the largest national monarch conservation organizations in the U.S. This year, we also became a program of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, a great environmental organization that works in Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties in West Virginia and Washington County in Maryland. I encourage you all to become members. Their website is at http://www.potomacaudubon.org..

Best regards,

Sandy Sagalkin

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