Teeing Off With Monarch Butterflies?

Press Release provided By Robert Coffan, Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates 

MEDFORD, OR, August 1, 2018 – Teeing off with monarch butterflies? That could very likely be the case soon on the 8th tee at the Stewart Meadows Golf Course in downtown Medford! The 9-hole golf course is installing five Monarch Waystation/Pollinator Gardens strategically placed for monarchs and patrons alike. There are other golf courses in Oregon that are on the pollinator bandwagon, but this is the FIRST golf course in the state (and likely the entire Pacific Northwest) to have a Monarch Waystation certified by nationally recognized Monarch Watch! According to Jim Lovett, Waystation Coordinator for Monarch Watch, “Your habitat was actually the 19,991st to be registered with us as a Monarch Waystation throughout North America, and helped us reach the 20,000 mark, which we hit on June 8th. There are currently 127 habitats in Oregon registered as Monarch Waystations and yours is the only one identified as a Golf Course!”

Josh Loy, Course Superintendent was nervous at first. “I really liked the concept, but wasn’t sure how to go about this and if it was going to be a big deal cost and maintenance wise”, Loy admitted. “But you look around and see what other courses in the country are doing, then you find a local team like the Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates to help you, well, we think we hit a hole in one!”

Loy contacted Robert Coffan, one of the SOMA cofounders to check the course out and help come up with a plan. “Golf courses often get a bad rap on the pollinator side of things”, said Coffan “Pesticide and fertilizer use, water consumption, ya da ya da. And the large expanse of grass is like a desert to most pollinators, who need nectar-bearing flowers for food and host plants for their reproduction. But a golf course is still an open space with water and tree canopy. It could be a great place to weave in small islands of
habitat for monarchs and other pollinators who are in big trouble these days. And helping our pollinators helps our local food economy”

Dr. Tom Landis and Suzie Savoie, both SOMA cofounders, helped with plant selection and layout. “Of course, planting native milkweed is the real foundation for success because milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat; when the milkweed is go, so are the monarchs.” Tom explained. “Add in other flowering plants that provide nectar for the adults all through the breeding season, be prepared to maintain it for a couple of years, and you are set for success!”

“I really enjoy playing this course, and already like seeing the flowers. ‘Hope the butterflies will come soon!” said Edward Istel, the VP of Development for KOGAP Enterprises, Inc. owner of the golf course. “But more importantly”, Istel added, “we want to expand this concept, and are planning on putting in several more Monarch Waystations along our newly established riparian corridor and pedestrian trail along Hansen Creek over in our adjacent Stewart Meadows Community”.

“This is very exciting, and definitely front and center in our wheelhouse”, stated Alexis Wenker, Executive Director of the Oregon Chapter Golf Course Superintendents Association. “There is no reason why pollinator habitat can’t be a sustainable part of a golf course, and this is being demonstrated throughout the country. I’ll be down to celebrate the opening with you!”

The Ribbon Cutting to Unveil the new Monarch Waystations at the Stewart Meadows Golf Course- the first waystations at an Oregon golf course to be certified by nationally recognized Monarch Watch will be • Friday, August 10th at 10:00 AM at 1301 S Holly St, Medford, OR.