YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Ohio Department of transportation is asking for the public’s help with donations of milkweed seeds for a project to help boost the butterfly population.
Monarch butterfly populations and the habitat they need are in decline across North America. Monarchs depend on milkweed as host plants, so ODOT is collecting milkweed seed pods to plant on along 19,000 miles of right of ways across Ohio.
The project will also help to reduce the amount of space that has to be mowed, which will be a savings to taxpayers.
“The double benefit is not only does it benefit the butterfly, but now this is an area that we don’t have to mow. That saves taxpayer dollars,” said Matt Bruning, ODOT press secretary. “We figure it is about $45 a mow per acre that we save by doing this.”
The state is teaming up Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative to help collect seed pods from established plants.
The pods can be dropped off at collection stations through October 30 (search for the SWCD in your county).
To collect seed pods, it is best to pick them when they are dry, gray, or brown in color. The pods should be stored in paper bags – plastic attracts moisture.