by Franklin Holley

At the Keystone Policy Center, we work with a steady hand through difficult issues, tough conversations, and with diverse, and sometimes divergent, stakeholders. It is our job to help our partners reach consensus on controversial and complex topics in agriculture, the environment, health and education. We don’t often toot our own horn, but occasionally, we are recognized for our work. This is one of those such times, and we are very proud to be sharing this moment with the Monarch Collaborative and Farmers for Monarchs.

This week, the Business Intelligence Group named the Keystone Policy Center-led Monarch Collaborative and Farmers for Monarchs for the Sustainability Initiative of the Year Award in the 2018 Sustainability Awards program. The Sustainability Awards honor those people, teams and organizations who have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice or overall mission.

In recognizing our work, Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer, Business Intelligence Group said, “We are proud to reward and recognize the Keystone Monarch Collaborative for their sustainability efforts. It was clear to our judges that their vision and strategy will continue to deliver results toward a cleaner, more sustainable world. Congratulations!”

The Monarch Collaborative seeks to encourage and enable the voluntary expansion and establishment of pollinator and conservation habitat, including planting milkweed and other habitat along the monarch butterfly seasonal migration route in North America. Farmers for Monarchs is a broad-based initiative within the Collaborative aimed at addressing on-farm conservation. It is a united effort by farmers, ranchers, landowners, the agriculture industry, conservation groups and others.

“Farmers can make a huge difference in conserving monarch butterflies within their current operations to benefit and support monarch habitat needs,” said Pete Berthelsen, The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund Partnership Coordinator. “Farmers for Monarchs and the Monarch Collaborative helps farmers identify such opportunities and connects them to needed resources to successfully plant and restore pollinator and conservation habitats, including milkweed, on their lands while continuing to provide the food we need for a growing population.”

When you’re a problem-solver, like so many of our staff and partners, you’re often searching for or are handed the next sticky wicket. When meetings adjourn, we at Keystone keep plugging away on follow-up and the next steps. We rarely stop to pat ourselves on the back and appreciate how rewarding partnerships and consensus-based processes can be. I keep this picture from our Monarch Collaborative Annual Meeting field visit at ISU’s Field Extension Education Lab and Farm as a reminder, since it’s better than any trophy.

It’s been so gratifying to work with members of the Monarch Collaborative who are dedicated to thriving habitat and thriving ag lands. Congratulations!

About the Monarch Collaborative

Monarch populations have declined over the past two decades. Because they face serious challenges today, the Monarch Collaborative is working to identify how partnerships in the farming and ranching community can support and enhance habitat for a sustainable monarch population. The Collaborative’s initial conversations, held in spring of 2015, have led to ongoing efforts to develop collaborative strategies to promote and implement actions that will support monarchs in agricultural landscapes. To learn more, please visit the resources section of our website, including a link to our Webinar on Engaging Farmers and Ranchers in Monarch Conservation Planning, FAQs, and why working lands matter for monarch butterflies.