Okies for Monarchs, an initiative of the Oklahoma Monarch & Pollinator Collaborative (OMPC), presented a state-wide, full-day pollinator education symposium, Rewilding Oklahoma, on August 28th featuring nine speakers on topics as diverse as “trees for pollinators” and “bison, burns and biodiversity.” The event highlighted Oklahoma successes and future goals in monarch and pollinator conservation, best practices for large and small land holders, insights for municipalities and urban planners, new perspectives for landscape architects, and advice for gardeners of any experience level for supporting pollinator species and restoring habitat.
Award-winning writer, Benjamin Vogt, Ph.D., delivered the keynote address and signed copies of his newest book, “A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future.”
“The overwhelming response we had heard so far from our 130+ attendees has been, ‘thank you for today, it exceeded our expectations!”’ explained Mary Waller, director of Okies for Monarchs. “We appreciate the role of the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma as part of our collaborative and members of CCO who attended this very unique day of education and networking.”
The event included eight additional presentations from wildlife partners across Oklahoma, including: Matt Pinnell, Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Tourism & Branding, State of Oklahoma; Kevin Mink, Urban Soil Health Specialist, Oklahoma County Conservation District; Rebeca Quiñonez-Piñón, Monarch Outreach Coordinator, National Wildlife Federation; Katie Gillies, Director of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, Dustin Lamoreaux, Oklahoma State Coordinator, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. Also presenting were Katie Hawk, Director of Communications and External Affairs, The Nature Conservancy; Katie Boyer, Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Bob Hamilton, Preserve Director, the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.
Additional highlights of the day included the launch of the Okies for Monarchs-inspired three-region pollinator seed mix from Johnston Seed Company and the premier of the OMPC Working Lands Best Practice Management Tools for those owning/managing large-scale land sectors.
The “green,” or zero-waste event was held at the Oklahoma City Zoo and included a diverse set of vendors, including: The Oklahoma City Zoo, Lancer, Fertile Grounds, Johnston Seed Company, Green Connections, Travel OK, CLS & Associates, Wild Things Nursery, Prairie Wind Nursery, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Farm Bureau Legal Foundation and the team from Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever.
OMPC wishes to express gratitude to the many supporters that made this event a success. Symposium’s financial sponsors were: Wildlife Warriors, The Nature Conservancy; Habitat Hero, the Sierra Club; and Conservation Friends, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation, OG Energy Group and Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. Our in-kind partners – Event Site Host, Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden; Texas speakers’ air travel underwriters, National Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; and lodging assistance from Ron Suttles.