A little over two years ago the Native Plant Society of Texas and the Texas Department of Transportation joined together in a project to help conserve Monarch butterflies by educating the public about the butterfly migration through Texas and the type of vegetation the butterflies needed on their journey.
With funding from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and volunteer labor the two organizations set to work to build Monarch Waystations at rest stops along Interstate 35 south of Hillsboro and near Salado. Monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains migrate through Texas to winter in northern Mexico and then return north in the Spring. In Texas they fly through a corridor parallel to Interstate 35. Along the way they require nutrition from nectar plants and on the return journey they also need milkweed for caterpillars. Monarch Waystations are intended primarily as educational tools, serving to increase awareness of the annual migration and to help the public learn to recognize the native plants required by the butterflies.
Kay Jenkins headed the project for the Native Plant Society, organizing volunteers, planning and implementing the gardens. On Saturday she was recognized for her efforts during a banquet following the fall symposium at the Walker Education Center in Huntsville. Kay was presented with the Nancy Benedict Memorial Award, which honors an individual, a group or an organization for a specific act of conservation or public service in the field of Texas native plants.
Texas Department of Transportation was also recognized for their part with the Native Star Award, which is given to an organization or agency for a specific act of conservation or public service. TxDOT was also presented an award as the winner of the annual video contest for their entry entitled Perpetuating Pollinators. Amanda Fowler accepted both awards on behalf of TxDOT.