Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency now has free pollinator seed packages available in municipal utility communities. The seeds are to create monarch butterfly and other pollinators habitat. The U.S. has seen an estimated 90 percent decrease in butterfly populations.

According to a press release, Chris Schoenherr, SMMPA's director of agency and government relations, announces that the second phase this summer invites members to join in the efforts by creating "monarch waystations" and believes small actions in our communities will be the best way to save the species.

Sand County Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization working with landowners to advance sound land management to benefit the environment, and Syngneta, an agriculture company, are partnering with SMMPA to help increase the monarch population.

Members and SMMPA have planted 29 monarch waystations in many communities. Milkweed and nectar plant seed packages, which were assembled by Prairie Restorations Inc. in Princeton, Minn., with instructions to help create a habitat for attracting butterflies and other pollinators within your garden, are now available. The packet of seeds is intended to cover 36 square feet.

Brochures by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on how to create a habitat for pollinators will be available.

Founded in 1977, Prairie Restorations Inc. is devoted to designing, restoring and managing native prairie plant communities and has six locations in Minnesota with 45 full-time employees.

SMMPA member participating communities include:

  • Blooming Prairie - 333 Second Ave. S.W.
  • Owatonna - 208 S. Walnut Ave.
  • Waseca - 508 S. State St.
  • Austin - 400 Fourth St. N.E.
  • Communities also include: Fairmont, Grand Marais, Lake City, Litchfield, Mora, New Prague, North Branch, Preston, Princeton, Rochester, Spring Valley, St. Peter and Wells.