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U.S. Forest Service

Celebrating Wildflowers News Current Year 2019

December 2019

“The People’s Tree” Lights up the Capitol

Posted December 19, 2019

The U.S. Army Brass Quintet performs in front of the adorned U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. The U.S. Army Brass Quintet performs in front of the adorned U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. Photo by Tanya Flores, Office of Communications.

A special gift from the Carson National Forest has successfully completed its cross-country journey to Washington, D.C. Harvested on Nov. 6, 2019, the massive 60-foot blue spruce, known affectionately as the “People’s Tree,” traveled over 2,000 miles and stopped for celebrations in 25 communities before arriving at the U.S. Capitol in late November. Today, the tree stands on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building and is decorated with thousands of handcrafted ornaments made by school children from the state of New Mexico.

Read more about the "The People's Tree"…

November 2019

Introducing “Real Time” Counts at a Few California Overwintering Sites

Posted November 14, 2019

Snapshot of the 2019 Real Time Western Monarch Count Data. Snapshot of the 2019 Real Time Western Monarch Count Data. Visit the Xerces' Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count home page for updates.

New this season: the Xerces Society is introducing "real time" counts at a few overwintering sites thanks to some great volunteers. There's a new graphic in the slider with counts from a few important overwintering sites. We'll be updating these counts regularly throughout the overwintering season so you can get a glimpse at how many monarchs are clustered.

Check out the homepage of Xerces' Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count…

October 2019

More than Monarchs: Restoring Ecosystems

Posted October 3, 2019

Honeybee on an aster. Honeybee on an aster. Photo by Candy Sarikonda, courtesy Monarch Joint Venture.

While monarchs are intrinsically important, conserving monarchs matters for more than just their own protection. Monarch Joint Venture is exploring the ways that monarch habitat and conservation helps people, other wildlife and the environment in the “More than Monarchs” series. 

Read more about restoring ecosystems on Monarch Joint Venture…

September 2019

Be Amazed by the Colors of Fall

Posted September 27, 2019

Colorful red maple leaves, a misty lake in the background Fall colors at Cass Lake, Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota. (Forest Service photo.)

There are so many beautiful songs and poems written about autumn. And images! Amazing pictures and videos of trees and flowers aglow with brilliant reds, yellows and oranges among the many iridescent shades of the color spectrum.

This wonderfully vivid season also brings out the adventurers among us. A nice hike or walk in a national forest or grassland becomes suddenly awash with color and you feel like you’re walking through a land of enchantment.

Read more about the colors of fall and Fall Wildlfowers on Celebrating Widlflowers.

Best Management Practices for Pollinators on Western Rangelands

Posted September 12, 2019

Publication cover.

Rangelands comprise the majority of public lands in the western United States, spanning a huge diversity of ecological regions, habitat types, and elevations—from grasslands to sagebrush steppe to pinyon-juniper woodlands to mountain meadows—and supporting some of the highest diversity of bee species in the country, as well as many butterflies, moths, and other pollinators. Many pollinator species in the West are declining and at-risk due to stressors including habitat loss, pesticides, disease, and the effects of climate change. A lack of pollinators on rangelands can have major ecological and economic impacts.

To help land managers incorporate pollinator-friendly practices into rangeland management, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has published Best Management Practices for Pollinators on Western Rangelands. These best management practices (BMPs) were developed for federally managed rangelands that span the eleven western United States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Read more about BMPs for Pollinators on Western Rangelands…

Getting climate-smart with seeds: How a new software tool helps prepare landscapes for expected future conditions

Posted September 5, 2019

A young woman taking a picture of a monarch butterfly with her smartphone. The web-based Climate-Smart Restoration Tool helps improve the seed selection process, which is a key part of ecosystem restoration and climate change resilience. Seed transfer limits are mapped based on user-designated geographic locations.

These days, there’s a lot of vulnerability associated with the Artemisia keystone species and its related ecosystems. Human development, overgrazing, severe fires, and encroachment by cheatgrass and pinyon-juniper woodlands have all reduced or degraded sagebrush ecosystems. It’s been estimated that less than 10 percent of U.S. sagebrush habitat is unspoiled. Greater sage-grouse, pygmy rabbits, and hundreds of other sagebrush-dependent species are particularly vulnerable to current and expected habitat disruption, including projected climate change.

One scientist whose research is helping to restore these ecosystems is Bryce Richardson, a research geneticist for the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Moscow, Idaho. Richardson’s work involves identifying sagebrush “seed zones”, geographic areas in which seed can be relocated and remain adapted to environmental conditions.

Read more about getting climate smart…

The Third Trinational Monarch Monitoring Blitz Was a Success Thanks to You

Posted September 3, 2019

A young woman taking a picture of a monarch butterfly with her smartphone.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is pleased to announce the results of the third annual Trinational Monarch Monitoring Blitz (the Blitz). For a week, hundreds of volunteers in Canada, Mexico and the United States helped monarch experts gain more information to enable better understanding of the distribution of the migratory monarch butterfly, an emblematic North American species.

Read more about the monarch monitoring blitz success…

August 2019

More than Monarchs: Climate Change

Posted August 27, 2019

Field of milkweed. Milkweed. Photo by Wendy Caldwell.

Monarchs and humans are vulnerable in a changing climate. Planting native plants not only creates monarch habitat, but also stores CO2.

Why Monarchs? While monarchs are intrinsically important, conserving monarchs matters for more than just their own protection. We’re exploring the ways that monarch habitat and conservation helps people, other wildlife and the environment in this ‘More Than Monarchs’ series!

Read more about monarchs and climate change…

Monarch Conservation Webinar - Urban Monarch Butterfly Conservation

Posted August 21, 2019

Urban Monarch Butterfly Conservation graphic.

Please join us for next week's Monarch Conservation Webinar, Tuesday, August 27th at 2PM EDT (1pm Central, 12pm Mountain, 11am Pacific).

We often think of urban areas as dead zones for wildlife habitat. However, cities can play a surprising role in conserving monarchs and pollinators. In this webinar, we'll hear success stories and how you can get involved in conserving monarchs in cities from the Field Museum's Urban Monarch Conservation program, the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, and the National Wildlife Federation's Mayor's Monarch Pledge.


Conserving Rare Oak Species in the United States

Posted August 5, 2019

Mowing on the Farm: Guidelines for Protecting Pollinators cover.

With support from the USDA Forest Service, The Morton Arboretum and Botanic Gardens Conservation International United States, have just published a comprehensive Conservation Gap Analysis of Native U.S. Oaks. Results from the analysis provide natural resource land managers and botanical gardens with a roadmap for implementing the crucially important conservation actions necessary to protect rare U.S. oak species.

Oaks are critical to the health and function of forest and shrubland ecosystems in the United States, providing valuable habitat for pollinators and food for birds and mammals. However, many native oaks are threatened with extinction in the wild by such factors as climate change, fire suppression, urban development and pests/pathogens.

Learn more about conserving rare oak species…

June 2019

Illinois Coalition Unveils Comprehensive Mowing Guide

Posted June 24, 2019

Mowing on the Farm: Guidelines for Protecting Pollinators cover.

Pollinators, the busy bees behind the scenes, are essential for sustainability of our ecosystems and natural resources. A coalition of scientists and eleven organizations and agencies in Illinois have developed a mowing resource to help Illinois residents and land managers provide food for pollinators, who in turn do the same for us.

Learn more about "Mowing on the Farm"…

USDA Proclamations - National Pollinators Week and National Grasslands Week

Posted June 19, 2019

The Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, Sonny Perdue, proclaimed the week of June 17 - 23, 2019, as National Pollinator Week (PDF) and the week of June 16 - 22, 2019, as National Grasslands Week (PDF).

Forest Service Sponsoring an Event to Highlight Pollinators

Posted June 13, 2019

In celebration of Pollinator Week, the Ouachita National Forest and its partners are holding the annual Bees, Bugs and Butterflies Pollinator event in Hot Springs, Arkansas, June 20.

The event, which highlights the important contribution pollinators make to the world’s ecosystems, will take place at the Arlington Lawn in downtown Hot Springs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“During National Pollinator Week, we want to provide information to the public on how pollinating species enable them to enjoy the state’s diverse wildlife, along with their favorite fruits and vegetables,” said Susan Hooks, Ouachita National Forest botanist. “Many plants need to be pollinated in order to produce food for wildlife and humans.”

Read more about the pollinator event in Arkansas…

Pollinator Week - June 17-23, 2019

Posted June 12, 2019

Pollinator Week logo.

National Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them.

Twelve years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership. See the Pollinator Week web page…

May 2019

Celebrating Wildflowers has been Updated!

Posted May 30, 2019

Celebrating Wildflowers Logo featuring a Mariposa Lily and Yellow Ladyslipper Orchid.

The Celebrating Wildflowers website has a fresh new look and has been updated so it can be viewed on smartphones and tablets, as well as computers.

We hope you like the changes we've made and continue to celebrate with us the thousands of wildflowers growing on our national forests and grasslands!

Contact us if you have questions or comments.

Seize the Daisies: Go see wildflowers before they’re gone

Posted May 8, 2019

A field of yellow wildflowers. Wildflowers in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. USDA photo by Preston Keres.

A sunrise on Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie perfectly illuminates beautiful wildflowers. A sunrise on Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie perfectly illuminates beautiful wildflowers. USDA Forest Service photo.

As spring literally blossoms across the nation, the brilliant colors of wildflowers—their reds, oranges, blues and yellows—splash across the landscape from wildlands to city parks to manicured lawns. In recognition of National Wildflower Week, which is always the third week of May, the USDA Forest Service wants you to enjoy this natural and wild bouquet by visiting a national forest or grassland wildflower viewing area.

Read more about seizing the daisies on the Forest Service Blog…

March 2019

National Pollinator Garden Network Surpasses Goal of One Million Registered Pollinator Gardens

Posted March 1, 2019

In just three years, 1,040,000 gardens were registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) involving an estimated eight million people, concentrated in the United States, and Canada with some in Mexico, and across the globe. From tiny yards to public gardens, the million plus gardens add up to a network of approximately five million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat.

Read the National Pollinator Garden Network's 2019 Press Release…

February 2019

The Weird Sex Lives of Orchids

Posted February 19, 2019

Monarch butterflies on conifer branches. Drakaea thinniphila, a species of Australian hammer orchid. Photo © ron_n_beths pics / Flickr.

The animal kingdom is full of strange, endearing, and even alarming courtship rituals and mating habits. Yet we don’t hear much about the bizarre reproductive strategies that plants use to produce the next generation.

Read about orchid reproductive strategies…

January 2019

Eastern Monarch Population Numbers Increase 144% from Last Year

Posted January 31, 2019

Monarch butterflies on conifer branches. © Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture.

The eastern North American monarch population estimate for the winter of 2018-2019 reports a population size of 6.05 hectares, announced by World Wildlife Fund - Mexico and the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP). This is the largest population we have seen since 2007, an increase of 144% compared to last year.

Read more about the monarch population increase on the Monarch Joint Venture website…

2019 Monarch Conservation Webinar Series

Posted January 29, 2019

The Monarch Joint Venture is excited to announce the topics for the 2019 Monarch Conservation Webinar Series! The Monarch Joint Venture is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center to put on another year full of informative and inspiring webinars on all things monarch.

2019 Monarch Conservation Webinar Series schedule.