Sustainability Program

Wild Collection

Yes, it’s true! We pay you for collecting wild milkweed pods. Our Monarch Sustainability program is modeled after a wild collection effort mounted in World War II. During that time school children collected milkweed pods so that the fluff could be used to fill life jackets. The motto of the day was “Two bags save one life!” meaning two bags of milkweed fluff would keep a downed serviceman afloat for days. Did you know they collected over 11 million pounds of pods across America? Imagine the habitat we used to have in this country! Our goal is to restore habitat and help local communities in the process. 

Make Money & Make A Difference

Discover fundraising to enrich your organization and to conserve and expand Monarch habitat.

Want your group to make some money? Collecting milkweed pods helps fund your favorite causes and gets your group outside and into nature. During the collection process you learn about the Monarch migration and habitat and the importance of healthy ecosystems. In addition, milkweed pod collection is easy, fun, and educational. Your efforts bring money to your community from outside your area and educate your membership about the importance of Monarch habitat.

Collection areas and goals are set and agreed to prior to collecting. It makes economic sense for the collection point and Monarch Flyway to choose areas that will grow over time. We start with a minimum goal of 3,000 pounds of milkweed pods but more is certainly possible. One collection area collected over 100,000 pounds one year. Monarch Flyway pays for bags and shipping to our processing plant in Ogallala, Nebraska. The pod picking window is only 4-6 weeks so it is a lot of work in a short amount of time.

The bags we send are a loose mesh, so seeds will naturally fall out during the picking and drying process; we call this “Passive Propagation” of Native milkweed. As your local ecosystem becomes a healthier “Monarch Flyway”, you will have more and more milkweed to pick in subsequent years. Your efforts bring money to your community from outside your area, educate your membership about the importance of Monarch habitat, and inspire creative thinking.

Economic development

Sustainably harvesting milkweed pods creates disposable income and greater purchasing power for individuals doing the picking. Families have used their “Milkweed Money” to purchase new tires for the family vehicle, a year of piano lessons, dance classes, new shoes, and sports equipment. The entire community benefits with the increased income. If your community is looking for ways to increase everyone’s bottom line, consider becoming a Monarch Sustainability Community Partner. You’ll increase business in your community and bolster Monarch habitat.

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