Monarch Waystation Network: Looking Back at 2016 and Ahead to 2017
Since I began working as the Education Coordinator for Monarch Watch in April, I have had the pleasure of working with, getting to know, and supporting many incredible educators, students and community members! The past nine months have been filled with exciting moments, learning moments and inspirational moments. I want to personally thank each and every one of you who has been a part of this journey. I am honored to support you along the way. Below is a summary of this time, along with some image and quote collages. We have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, and I am looking forward to accomplishing even more in 2017! Remember, I am here to support you and your students. What this looks like is an evolving process, so let’s all be creative and reach even more students this year!
I know you are busy, so below are just some of the many highlights from 2016 to ponder as we head into a new year together!
-Needs assessment sent to 315 educators asking for your input in developing the MWN
-64% response rate showed overwhelming need for support, and provided areas to emphasize
-Based on your neeeds, the MWN was officially launched in August, and consists of four primary components: a website, a forum, a newsletter, and email correspondence
-Since beginning the Free Milkweed for Schools and Nonprofits program in 2014, Monarch Watch has delivered a free flat of 32 milkweed plants to 560 different recipients. Of these recipients, 303 were schools and 257 were nonprofits. In addition to these 303 schools, I also reached out to the schools that already had certified Monarch Waystation gardens before our free milkweeds program began in 2014. In all, there are currently around 1,500 documented schools receiving support through the Monarch Waystation Network!
-student challenge questions
- images you have submitted to me grace the website’s pages and evoke a personal connection to this project
-and much more
The forum truly creates the foundation of this project, and sets it apart from other monarch-focused education programs. The forum is a place for schools, educators and students to connect, share ideas or lessons, ask questions, post pictures and gain inspiration. There are currently 164 teachers and students registered on the forum. The forum has the potential to be a very special and unique form of support for you, so I hope 2017 brings more activity and engagement. Please let me know how I can improve this to make you want to participate more.
-Currently, the mailing list consists of 1,454 recipients
-The goals of the newsletter are to provide quick tips, small bits of information, highlight inspirational stories, and basically to regularly remind you that I am here to support you and your students with this project.
-Correspondence with anywhere between 5-25 educators and/or students per week
-Article for the Green Schools National Network Newsletter, to be published this month
-Poster presentation at the National Association of Biology Teachers Conference.
-Partnership with a local high school, providing consultation support for their project of restoring an old football field into a native prairie
-Numerous individualized projects developed by educators, students and community members all over North America
Ideas/Goals for 2017:
- “Featured Waystation”
-“Ask a Biologist”
-increased social media presence
-Solicit more feedback and suggestions from you, because the more ownership you have of the Monarch Waystation Network, the more successful and sustainable it will be.
-In December, Monarch Watch was awarded funding to extend the Free Milkweed for Schools and Nonprofits program another year, which will add an additional 160 schools to the MWN!
Monarch Waystation Network Links:
Enjoy a few collages, tiny examples of the impact monarchs and pollinators are having on students everywhere! Join the fun in 2017:)