In June 2015, the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) granted $80,000 to the City of St. Louis (City) to promote urban monarch conservation by expanding activities associated with Milkweeds for Monarchs: The St. Louis Butterfly Project (M4M). Generally speaking, the USFWS grant was to: (1) enhance urban education and outreach efforts, and (2) conduct research on urban monarch habitat. The project spent $51,583.57 on activities for ed and $27,785.68 for research. The City’s Office of the Mayor used a portion of the funds to contract a part time individual to act as a Monarch Community Liaison, and used the majority of the grant funds to partner with several local entities with expertise to lead the research and education tasks associated with the USFWS grant work. As will be described more fully below, the City’s grant partners on this urban monarch grant were the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG), the Saint Louis Zoo (Zoo) and the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). The grant period ran from June 2015 to August 2016, and allowed the City to optimize and take advantage of numerous other monarch conservation efforts. The final report summarizes work and findings conducted during the grant performance period, and also references many of the leveraged efforts to advance urban monarch conservation in 2015 and 2016.
OVERALL GRANT CONCLUSIONS: The grant effort surpassed anticipated outcomes and exceeded expectations of partner entities. Key outputs include: Fifty new urban school monarch gardens, a successful educator-neighborhood specialist workshop, creation of a Monarch Gardens for Schools educator guide, protocols established for research at 30 monarch gardens and 7 urban prairie patches, and highly-visible exhibits at two popular conservation institutions. Key outcomes include: Improvement in familiarity and comfort level of educators/neighborhood specialists, insights relating to social impact of monarch gardens and habitat in public spaces, increased monarch learning at K-12 schools, and greater understanding among City staff regarding elements needed to ensure and sustain successful monarch habitat areas. Key takeaways include: (1) Citizens and community groups in the City of St. Louis have embraced urban monarch conservation efforts, and are poised to participate in meaningful ways; (2) Most people appreciate or value monarch garden/habitat areas, especially if kempt; (3) Signage and education are needed to optimize impact; (3) Future stewardship and maintenance needs are best addressed at the outset of garden/habitat establishment; (4) Adequate capacity and staff resources are needed to ensure coordination among departmental efforts, and to both communicate opportunities and troubleshoot issues; and (5) When working with multiple partners, departments and citywide efforts, there would ideally be a dedicated staff person having experience in grant and project management acting as grant administrator/project coordinator.
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