Learn how to provide more pollinator habitat in the St. Croix River region

Online presentation will introduce new initiative to help threatened bees and butterflies.




2 minute read

Monarch butterfly on blazing star in Marine on St. Croix. (Greg Seitz, St. Croix 360)

Plants need pollinators, and pollinators need plants. Insects like the monarch butterfly and rusty-patched bumblebee are essential to a healthy ecosystem, but they face a range of problems. The disappearance of the plants they need to survive — like milkweed — is a big one.

A new initiative with St. Croix Valley roots is here to help. Project Wingspan seeks to create new habitat for pollinators across the Midwest, helping the imperiled species and many others. Next Tuesday, a webinar will offer information about how citizens can get involved in the work to protect pollinators.

The presentation is sponsored by the North Woods and Waters of the St. Croix Heritage Area.

Project Wingspan Webinar

August 18, 2020
2:00-3:00 p.m. CDT
Location: Via Zoom

Operation Pollination is a driving force behind Project Wingspan. Operation Pollination began in 2015 as the St. Croix Valley Pollinator Alliance. Its new form works across the region to protect and restore pollinator habitat.

“If you’re looking for an easy project where you can help further pollinator conservation, you may be interested in participating in Project Wingspan – a large scale collaborative initiative working to increase the quality, quantity, and connectivity of habitat for our imperiled pollinators,” NWW says.

Rusty-patched bumblebee, Stillwater, Minn., August 1, 2020 (Photo by goeltlb via iNaturalist)

The population of monarch butterflies, which make a remarkable multi-generation migration between Mexico and the Midwest, has declined by about 90 percent in the last two decades.

The rusty-patched bumblebee, once common, has also declined by more than 90 percent in recent years, and was added to the Endangered Species List in 2017.

The goal of Operation Wingspan is to “enhance and secure” at least 15,000 acres of monarch and rusty-patched bumblebee habitat across the Midwest in the next three years.

The plan is to enlist volunteers to collect native wildflower seed and distribute it to appropriate sites around the region, providing more of the food that pollinators need to survive.

More information: