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OSU becomes certified as a Monarch Waystation

Monday, June 6, 2022

Media Contact: Gabby Barber | Office of Sustainability | 580-695-5529 | gabhriel.barber@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma Native Plant Corridor was certified as a Monarch Waystation, a program run by the nonprofit Monarch Watch, on May 8.

Monarch Watch serves to educate the public on the needs, research opportunities and migration patterns of monarch butterflies, whose habitats have been rapidly degraded by urbanization in recent decades.

Prospective Monarch Waystations must meet certain criteria for the habitat to be certified. The criteria fit into six categories: size, sun and moisture exposure, shelter, milkweed plants, nectar plants and management plans.

OSU Facilities Management Landscape Services’ detailed webpage on the plants and management practices of the corridor was essential for the completion and submission of the Monarch Waystation application.

The Oklahoma Native Plant Corridor is comprised of several pocket gardens running from Athletic Avenue to Monroe Street, each designed to highlight native plants and designs on campus. By planting gardens with native species, Oklahoma biodiversity flourishes and more efficient and sustainable management practices can be used.

One of the most notable pocket gardens in the native corridor is located on the north side of Engineering South. This pocket, requested by landscape architecture students, was established through a Green Student Initiative grant funded by the OSU Student Government Association Sustainability Board.

A more recent addition to the native corridor is the Tom and Edna Carson Family Garden, located by the northern entrance to OSU’s Edmon Low Library. This addition to the corridor is essential because it connects and blends the other native corridor pockets. 

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Tom and Edna Carson Family Garden, Nick Oullette — OSU landscape services design coordinator — explained that the new garden contains upgraded sustainable features such as outdoor charging stations, an organic water feature utilizing reclaimed stone, two wooden art placeholders and a garden map with additional information about the garden and its plants.

Oullette emphasized that making OSU’s landscape sustainable and intentional relies on teamwork and gratitude.

“I’d also like to say a special thanks to Gabby Barber and to Kristeena Blaser, who work in the Office of Sustainability, for their assistance in making this garden a registered and certified Monarch Waystation that provides the needed pollinator plants that support our monarch butterflies,” Oullette said. “All the vegetation that’s been installed, at least in the last 10 years, along the native corridor are native to the U.S. — the majority of those being native here to Oklahoma.”

As of May 2022, almost 38,600 Monarch Waystations have been certified by Monarch Watch. This number will only continue to grow in the global effort to protect monarch butterflies and other pollinators from habitat destruction.

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