FORRC Southern Nevada Milkweed Project

Pollinator Garden #2 Planting in Pahrump

Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 8:00AM to 2:00PM

Help us clean up Pollinator Garden #1 and prep Garden #2.

Click here for details.

Shaping & Winterizing Pollinator Garden #1 at Discovery Park - Pahrump, Nevada

November 4, 2017

What a difference a day made! On this second session of work in Pahrump, our crew of 19 didn’t waste any time attacking the Bermuda grass, pruning milkweed and native plants and creating a meandering pathway through this pollinator garden.

Southern Nevada Milkweed Project again worked side by side with Red Rock Audubon Society and Great Basin Water Company shaping the first of 3 planned pollinator gardens.

SNMP has donated milkweed and other pollinator attractors for spring planting.

Meet our crew

Our fun, fabulous work crew - Ed Skaar, Jeff Young, Bob Furtek, Lisa Hasse, Richard Cantino, Debby Woodland, Patricia Potter, Shari Young, Carol Swearingen, Nataline Chew, Tony Tocco, Bill Redinger, Carol Cantino, Brian Schuck, Beth Schuck, Jo Poe, Steve Kressig, Stewart Thomas, and Glenda Bona - SNMP Program Manager.

HELLO Monarchs … Take a Look at THIS!

This past spring, the Southern Nevada Milkweed Project partnered with Red Rock Audubon Society and Great Basin Water Company to create 3 pollinator gardens in a 25 acre habitat restoration project in Discovery Park in Pahrump, NV. The first garden was planted with milk-weed and native plants in spring 2017.

These plants were grown from seed in our nursery at Floyd Lamb Park. Look at them now! Since spring, regular watering has created monster desert plants!

In the foreground are 3 very healthy varieties. On the left is Asclepias speciosa ‘Showy', in the center is Asclepias subulata ‘Rush’ (blooming!) and on the right is Asclepias fascicularis ‘Narrowleaf’- check out the seedpods!

Milkweed Out-Planting in Pahrump

Saturday October 21, 2017

Our mission - to weed, prune and plant more milkweed & natives. Here is just a sampling of the hardcore volunteers who helped transform a Bermuda infested garden into a happy home for pollinators.

There were more than 20 hardworking helpers from Las Vegas and Pahrump. By the end of the day, we planted over 100 milkweed and desert plants and 31 trees!

Unfortunately, the bermuda grass and other undesirables loved the growing conditions, too, so we had our work cut out for us!

We dug up 5’ roots … pulled unwanted plants … & yanked out Bermuda

If you would like to see more photos from this event please visit our Facebook page.

Planting at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

What a great crew!

SNMP Planting Crew on 9/9/2017 - Zack McPherson, Brad McPherson, Bea Palmer, Audra Bonney, Charlotte Bonney, Bob Furtek, Alberthe Peterson, Pholtanawat Lapasrada, Glenda Bona, Carol Swearingen, Shari Young, Jeff Young, Rick Swadling.

Hard at work

On a rainy morning in September, we drove through the runoff from Spring Mountain into the park and took advantage of the rain as we planted 80 Desert Milkweed plants, 28 native plants and 200 Desert Milkweed seeds.

We experienced firsthand the thorns, stickers, spines and glochids of native plants. Our crew worked through yucca and cactus pokes to really change the face of the entrance to the park - with no complaints, only excitement about our progress.

This diverse group honored each others strengths in the joint creation of a monarch munching and breeding spot … as well as a beautiful entry for visitors to enjoy. We made a difference - go see for yourself!

We’re seeing Queen Butterflies at the Nursery!

Left to Right: Eggs, chrysalis and caterpillars everywhere!

Manager's August 2017 Report:

Happy to be onboard!

Glenda Bona

I know we only have a few short months to wrap this project up, but I am so happy to be a part of this local effort to promote the importance of providing the life-sustaining food source for the most elegant pollinator, the monarch butterfly!

In the past month, I have had a crash course in growing milkweed … and in finding out what has been learned during the course of this grant.

Jeff Young’s 7/21/2017 email on Milkweeds provides a valuable history of the seeding and planting and the results of milkweed propagation efforts over the period of this grant. Jeff and Shari’s guidance has helped me step into this role with a sense of the history of the project and has assisted me with in developing a vision for what lies ahead.

my first few weeks …


…all of this as Ronnie and I comfortably slid into our new roles with FORRC.

Jeff at greenhouse

Jeff showed me around the greenhouse and the nursery. We sorted and surveyed the plants and decided to plant more seeds for fall. Shari, Jeff and I planted 360 cells on 8/7 with tremendous success. Nearly all have germinated.

On 7/27, I met with partners Christiana Manville, FWS, Melissa Sanders, BLM Seeds of Success, and Lara Kobelt, BLM Botanist.

Jeff, Shari and I spent time with Rick Keller at Spring Mountain Ranch and he welcomed us to plant there this fall. We are looking for spot where water might be available or where we might bring water until the roots are established.

Training Sessions

The three of us visited the Botanical Gardens at UNCE and Anne Marie Lardeau showed us her milkweed field trials. It was a great exchange of information - SNMP has planted in the wild with limited success in plant retention. Anne Marie’s plants are contained in the garden where they are irrigated and cared for on a regular basis - and she still has plant problems. We will continue to learn from each other.

And many thanks to FORRC for the fall trainings. I sat in on the 2 days of the volunteer training sessions which included Native Americans, Botany, Tule Springs, Mormon Fort, Spring Mountain Ranch, Mining, Wetlands, Search & Rescue, Wildlife Refuge and Sloan Canyon.

Next step - plan the out-plantings, contact volunteers, coordinate with partners and prepare for the fall events.

June 2017 Update

Greenhouse Crew

A ton of progress today, thanks to the Pilgrims, and our Team leads. All is looking so so good. Garden is getting there, new irrigation is in place, new plants, seed cleaning is moving forward, and we're just about finished with transplanting all of what we have in the greenhouse.

We've now scheduled each Saturday to get out with our Field Teams to begin collecting data on new sighting and eventually collecting seeds.

February 2017 Update

School Garden

An update of our two year Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant:

We located 8 of the possible 14 different native milkweed plants that grow in Southern Nevada.

Currently in our greenhouse we are growing out 6200 milkweed plants and other nectar providing native plants for use in our program. These should be available for out planting in March/April.

280 of you have expressed your support to the SNMP, either buy volunteering (156 of you) or by spreading the word to others about our program or by giving needed advice to our Team.

1700+ attended SNMP community outreach sessions.

We have provided milkweed plants or seeds to 16 school gardens that are emphasising integrating native plants into their landscape.

September 2016 Update

Monarch Butterfly

Southern Nevada Milkweed Mapping, Seed Production and Distribution Project

The project scope includes locating milkweed, collecting data and mapping (GIS), monitoring them, collecting seeds, submitting seeds to the SOS program and propagating samples of all varieties of native Milkweed plants in Southern Nevada (our area includes approximately 2,239,050 acres). Once this study is completed, the Fish & Wildlife and others will have a better way to reverse the decline of the Monarch Butterfly, a very serious problem we’ve begun to experience.

Volunteer Activities

12/012/2015 through 07/31/2016 SNMP has:


14 training classes were offered. Subjects included:

Greenhouse and Propagation


To date, 15 sessions have produced 22,500 seeds planted in the greenhouse.

Approximately 8,000 plants have been grown. 5,200 of those plants have been outplanted. The results of those out plants are currently being evaluated. Our preliminary result is that the success of this effort is well below our expectations.

New plantings will begin in August and out plants will be ready for October.

New methods are not being evaluated for future propagation. Tuber sections, cuttings, timely seedings, techniques of seeding in the greenhouse, etc are options.

New containers are being evaluated and we expect to begin planting in the greenhouse in early August

Activities and Community Outreach

Community Outreach

Master Gardener Monthly meeting and SNMP Presentation (February, 125 attended).

Heritage Society Nevada Native Plant Workshop and SNMP Presentation (4 SNMP volunteers attended).

Nevada Native Plant Society (3 SNMP volunteers attend each month).

Native Plant Society Monthly Meeting/Presentation (May).

School Garden Workshop and SNMP Presentation (April, 350 attended).

Nevada Forestry Pollinator Workshop (April, 5 SNMP volunteers attended).

BLM Southern Nevada Restoration Forum Field Trip and Workshop. (April, 4 SNMP volunteers attended).

Red Rock Canyon Endangered Species day. (May, SNMP staffed a display and information table, 5 Volunteers attended).

Red Rock Canyon Butterfly Day (May, SNMP staffed a display and information table, 7 Volunteers attended).

Nevada Wilderness Society Monthly Meeting and SNMP Presentation (Scheduled this October).

Southern Nevada Audubon Society Monthly Meeting and Presentation (Pending this October).

Field Teams

Field Teams

We have 3 field teams and 12 current volunteers to find and collect data. We need 2-3 more teams to effectively complete this work.

We have had 27 field sessions to find and collect data on milkweeds sightings. This information is being formatted into the Xerces data collection program and will eventually be made available to map and collect data information for Southern Nevada.

Currently the SNMT has 41 sites that data has been collected.

June Update

Shari and Jeff Young, our Field Team Leads that are monitoring the Spring Mountain Ranch site have found five chrysalides, two of which were kept in our terrarium. Those two have hatched and were tagged and released, the others are on erosas, soon to hatch. This is so super for our program and supports our position that, with help, we can strengthen the presence of monarchs in Southern Nevada and milkweeds are the clue to this happening.

Rush Milkweed Rush Milkweed Rush Milkweed Rush Milkweed

The photos above show a chrysalide found in the field, our first monarch tag, volunteer Shari Young releasing our first female monarch (tagged AL800) and Jeff Young releasing our first male monarch (tagged AL801).

Manager's June 2016 Report:

Field Team Update:

Our field teams are all over Southern Nevada, just a few of the trips have been: Warm Springs and the Muddy river, Ash Meadows, Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, Corn Creek, Sandy Valley, Cottonwood Valley, Lake Mead, Big Bend, the Wetlands Park, Mount Charleston, Spring Mountain Ranch, Lovell and Trout Canyons, Red Rock, Bird Springs and even Peekaboo Canyon. We currently have data on 30+ milkweeds different sightings in Southern Nevada.

Current Milkweeds our Field Teams are Tracking

Scientific Name Common Name
Asclepias speciosa Showy milkweed
Asclepias erosa Desert milkweed
Asclepias asperila Spider milkweed
Asclepias subverticillata Horsetail milkweed
Asclepias fascicularis Narrowleaf milkweed
Asclepias cryptoceras Davis milkweed
Asclepias subulata Rush milkweed
Funastrum cynanchoides Climbing milkweed

Outplant Update:

Our propagation outplant efforts at Warm Springs, Wetlands Park, Spring Mountain Ranch and the Corn Creek Visitor Center (4850 plants) has been a learning experience for our team. Results won’t be in until October, but it looks like our Q-plugs, made with earthworm casings, seem to be an attraction for many rodents and birds. Attracted by the earthworm odor, they dig out and eat the plug and sometimes even eat the plant. It seems like the larger plants grown in potting soil are doing better, although that process takes additional time and labor to complete. Caging the young plants is an option and will be evaluated.

Out next outplant will begin in October with plants we will begin growing in the greenhouses in late August or early September. We’ll replant and seed all areas again as well as several others.

Community Outreach Update:

We are getting our project out and into the community. Recent sessions with The Master Gardeners of Nevada, The Nevada Heritage Society, The Nevada Native Plant Society, Green Our Planet, Red Rock Canyon’s Endangered Species Day, Red Rock Canyon’s Butterfly Day and The Audubon Society.

Greenhouse Update:

Although growing in the greenhouse is slow because of the heat this summer, we are still making progress and plans for beginning our fall planting in mid-August. Our goal is to have 5000 plants ready for outplanting by October.

In addition, we are planting an area at the nursery to properly display the different kinds of milkweeds we’ve located. Additional companion blooming plants to promote attracting pollinators will be planted as a monarch waystation.

Seed Collection Update:

We are just beginning seed collecting; July, August and September are our best months. Our field teams are out twice a week, locating and collecting data on each plant location. Once seeds are collected, we’ll clean and store the seeds, reserving some for planting and some for the SOS program.

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) road graders are at it again this year, leveling over 500 Erosa milkweeds on Tecopa Road that we have been monitoring. Only 20 remain. Currently we are talking to NDOT to see if anything can be agreed to.

Also, we have poachers! Yes poachers, we’d been monitoring a large group of Rush milkweeds near Nelson and discovered that all seedpods were removed.


A big reach out to Melissa Sanders our Seeds of Success leader working with the BLM/GBI who have been so supportive to our teams’ seed collecting efforts. Melissa was collecting seeds with her BLM team on June 14 and was bitten by a young Mojave Green rattlesnake. It was a serious strike and has put her into intensive care.

Manager's April 2016 Report:

April Log

Earth Day and Red Rock Day:

Earth day was on the 22nd, yet we celebrated it on the 23rd with Red Rock Day and our “Out Plant” at Spring Mountain Ranch.

In 1970, the year of our first Earth Day, the movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with groundbreaking ideas and by the power of our example.

The most important part of our day was the 52 volunteers, half of them were youth and the future of what our land will become. If we can get the message to them, then maybe that’s what’s it’s all about. I love the having the youth on our SNMP and what their parents are promoting to them.

Today we continued the effort and I realize that both the young and us older are in step with continuing what was begun in 1970. Thank you so so much for making this “Out Plant” happen!

Milkweed sightings?

We are keeping a list of milkweed sightings. When you are out, keep your eyes open, review our milkweed guide and report your findings to us (SNMP) and we’ll put one of our field teams on it. They will go see it, ID it, photograph it, take coordinates on it’s location and begin to observe it’s lifecycle, and hopefully be able to collect seeds from it. All this information is maintained in our Teams database and will be made available to all of our partners, the Monarch Joint Venture Society, The Xerces Society and the Nevada Heritage Society. Eventually, this data will be put into a map that will begin to show us where monarchs might frequent on their migration journey. Keep your eyes open, we need your help to make this project work. Here’s what we need:

Date Time # Seen Site Coordinates Observer Remarks Action

Monarch sightings?

The Xerces Society wants our monarch sightings (I have 2 this past week). Send them to us and we’ll log them all together and then send them to Xerces each 6 months. Here’s what we need:

Date Time # Seen Site Coordinates Observer Remarks Action

New site to visit:

New Ideas:

Recently our team has spent some time in Pollinator Workshops, we’ve learned a lot and I believe we have begun to see the whole picture: Milkweeds, other blooming plants (producing nectar), the the actual life cycle of the monarch and then the other pollinators who, are frankly the future of our native plant’s ability to pollinate and reproduce for their own species. This challenge is, as you may know, is in jeopardy of what chemicals are being produced to alter our crops and even our native or natural lands. Our goal is to find, observe, furnish data, collect seeds and even propagate to test areas that may expand these plants and in turn support the safety of our dwindling monarchs.

One idea that came out in several of the classes I’ve taught to the Junior Master Gardener’s is making Bee houses? I’d like to throw that to our group? Especially with the families that did such a great job Saturday. There’s the project: Bees need places to lay their eggs, the seem to like holes (5/16” dia and 3 ½” deep)) in wood. These Bee Houses are crucial to the growth of our bee colonies, which are in decline. Not just the production of honey, which we all love, but more so with their ability to collect pollen while the collect honey nectar, they actually are the ones that make pollination happens between plants, which expand and continue the growth of our plants. It’s pretty simple: We spray our plants with chemicals (roundup) we not only kill our plants, we actually kill our pollinators. By definition pollinators could be: the weather (wind or rain), birds, animals, and then certainly insects (both good and not so good), but once we look at the whole picture we’ll see that something just has to be done to protect our environment.

For starters, let’s each make one Bee House? I have about 25 bee houses made, and you are welcome to get them, just let me know and I’ll drop them off to you? It’s a start and if each family can have one, we can make a difference.

To date we have had, in 4 months, 87 volunteers work with us and we have 65 partners and supporters behind us, for a total of 163 on our Team, this is super and I know that together the SNMP will make a difference for milkweeds and monarchs. We are on schedule for a big summer, finding and collecting, then growing, please be apart of our project?

April 3, 2016 - Four Months Recap:

What a great start with our two year project, here’s what we’ve done since December 1, 2015: