Planting Milkweed for Monarchs? Make Sure It’s Native

Dicamba Drift Could Put 60 Million Acres of Monarch Habitat at Risk

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Mar. 01, 2018 03:13PM EST

Dicamba—a drift-prone herbicide linked to millions of acres of off-target crop damage across in 17 states—destroys mostly everything in its path except the crops that are genetically engineered to resist it. It’s so damaging that several states, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri have introduced temporary bans on the weedkiller.

There’s now another reason to worry about the controversial chemical. It’s particularly harmful to milkweed, the only host plant for the iconic and already at-risk monarch buttery.

In a new report publisehd Thursday, researchers with the Center for Biological Diversity warn that the expanded use of dicamba, which is projected to increase by nearly 100-fold on cotton and soybean fields, will put more than 60 million acres of monarch habitat at risk by 2019.

Here are some key findings from the paper:

  • Accelerating harm: In addition to 61 million acres of monarch habitat being directly sprayed with dicamba, an additional 9 million acres could be harmed by drift of the pesticide.
  • Deadly timing: The timing and geographical distribution of dicamba use coincides precisely with the presence of monarch eggs and larva on milkweed.
  • Double trouble: Dicamba degrades monarch habitat both by harming flowering of plants that provide nectar for adults as they travel south for the winter and by harming milkweed that provides an essential resource for reproduction.
  • Greater menace to milkweed: Research has shown that just 1 percent of the minimum dicamba application rate is sufficient to reduce the size of milkweed by 50 percent, indicating it may have a greater impact on milkweed growth than the already widely used pesticide glyphosate.

Populations of the once-common butterfly have plummeted approximately 80 percent in just the last two decades. A major threat to the species is its loss of habitat due to the lack of availability of milkweed through land conversion for agriculture, removal of native plants and the use of pesticides.

“America’s monarchs are already in serious trouble, and this will push them into absolute crisis,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, and author of the report, A Menace to Monarchs.

“It’s appalling that the EPA approved this spraying without bothering to consider the permanent damage it will do to these butterflies and their migration routes.”

The paper notes that in 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval for expanded use of dicamba included nearly 500 pages of ecological analyses, but “glaringly omitted any mention or examination of the threat to monarchs.”

For the study, the researchers examined monarch habitat and projected dicamba usage rates in the coming years, which is estimated to reach about 57 million pounds annually. They produced an interactive map showing the locations and time when monarch eggs and larva were sighted, along with the locations and timing of when cotton and soybean crops may be sprayed with dicamba.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the EPA has refused to take the necessary action to address the harms caused by the chemical.

“There’s no question that use of dicamba across tens of millions of acres will deepen risks to our dangerously imperiled monarch populations,” said Donley. “When dicamba’s use on GE cotton and soybeans comes up for reapproval later this year, the only responsible thing for the EPA to do is allow that approval to expire.”

From the study: “This indicates that dicamba will be used across the South, East and Midwest at the precise time of year when milkweed is absolutely essential to perpetuate the northern migration of monarchs.”

World’s first solar panel mural unveiled in San Antonio

In a world where solar farms are shaped like giant pandas, there’s certainly room for some solar butterflies. Determined to beautify our cities by converting solar panels into creative works of public art, the Seattle-based Land Art Generator Initiative just unveiled the world’s first solar mural installation, called La Monarca, by San Antonio artist Cruz Ortiz with creative direction from artist Penelope Boyer.

The Land Art Generator Initiative, solar panel customization, solar power art, Land Art Generator Solar Mural, LAGI Solar Mural, Luminaria, La Monarca, Cruz Ortiz, solar panels artwork, street art, solar art, land art generator, local artists solar panels, decorative solar panels, public art

La Mariposa solar mural – recently unveiled at the San Antonio Arts Festival, Luminaria – was created through advanced PV Film technology that lets light easily pass through the printed film that adheres to the panels. The beautiful mural is just the first step in the Land Art Generator’s plan to combine sustainable energy infrastructures with public art. Working with local artists, architects, landscape architects, engineers and scientists, the organization hopes to provide more collaborative platforms that enable cities to put a new artsy spin on their clean energy generation.

Related: World’s cutest solar farm in China is shaped like a panda

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According to the artist, La Monarca was inspired by San Antonio’s status as the National Wildlife Federation’s first Monarch Butterfly Champion City. A fitting symbol to be put on a clean energy installation, the monarch butterfly represents the threat that wildlife faces due to global warming and climate change.

The Land Art Generator Initiative, solar panel customization, solar power art, Land Art Generator Solar Mural, LAGI Solar Mural, Luminaria, La Monarca, Cruz Ortiz, solar panels artwork, street art, solar art, land art generator, local artists solar panels, decorative solar panels, public art

After the festival, the solar art mural will be moved to its permanent home inside a pollinator garden on the EPICenter campus in San Antonio where it will be used to generate solar energy directly into the building.

+ Land Art Generator Initiative

Images by Land Art Generator Initiative

The Land Art Generator Initiative, solar panel customization, solar power art, Land Art Generator Solar Mural, LAGI Solar Mural, Luminaria, La Monarca, Cruz Ortiz, solar panels artwork, street art, solar art, land art generator, local artists solar panels, decorative solar panels, public art

The Land Art Generator Initiative, solar panel customization, solar power art, Land Art Generator Solar Mural, LAGI Solar Mural, Luminaria, La Monarca, Cruz Ortiz, solar panels artwork, street art, solar art, land art generator, local artists solar panels, decorative solar panels, public art

The Land Art Generator Initiative, solar panel customization, solar power art, Land Art Generator Solar Mural, LAGI Solar Mural, Luminaria, La Monarca, Cruz Ortiz, solar panels artwork, street art, solar art, land art generator, local artists solar panels, decorative solar panels, public art

The Land Art Generator Initiative, solar panel customization, solar power art, Land Art Generator Solar Mural, LAGI Solar Mural, Luminaria, La Monarca, Cruz Ortiz, solar panels artwork, street art, solar art, land art generator, local artists solar panels, decorative solar panels, public art

‘World’s First’ Solar Panel Mural Revealed

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 5.05.14 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-15 at 5.06.19 PM

NOV 13, 2017

A solar panel went up in downtown San Antonio on Friday, and it’s one that’s unlike any other.

“This is an excellent example of combining art and technology, art and science,” said Penny Boyer of the Land Heritage Institute, a 1,200-acre nature preserve that promotes land stewardship and renewable energy. “This is the world’s first solar mural installation.”

The mural is actually comprised of four panels combined to form a 6 and one-half feet by 13-foot solar panel mural. Artist Cruz Ortiz created a Monarch Butterfly, labeling it La Monarca — Spanish for the monarch — and appearing much like a large Loteria card. There’s also a 24 in the upper left.

“The 24 indicates the 24 actions that our city has agreed to take on to become the first monarch butterfly champion city as designated by the National Wildlife Federation,” she said.

The Land Art Generator Initiative‘s Robert Ferry says right now we’re on the cusp of major energy change.

“I think we have an opportunity now in the 21st century to leave a cultural mark and a legacy for this important time in history as we make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy infrastructure,” he said. “People will look back 100 years from now and see these great artworks that are still working and powering their cities and reflect on that.”

La Monarca will be moved before long to the still being developed EPIcenter, where it will be located next to the pollinator garden being created there.

According to spokesperson Kelly Morris, La Monarca cost between $5000-$6000.

Find more on the city’s 24 Actions here.

Find more on the Land Heritage Institute here.

Find more on artist Cruz Ortiz here.

Find more on the Land Art Generator Initiative here.

La Monarcha solar panels

La Monarcha solar panels
JACK MORGAN
project partners Robert Mendoza, Robert Ferry, Elizabeth Monoian

Project partners Robert Mendoza, Robert Ferry, Elizabeth Monoian
JACK MORGAN
La Monarca with the Lila Cockrell Theater and Tower of the Americas

La Monarca with the Lila Cockrell Theater and Tower of the Americas
JACK MORGAN
La Monarca detail

La Monarca detail
JACK MORGAN
La Monarca with Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

La Monarca with Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
JACK MORGAN

‘World’s First’ Solar Panel Mural Revealed

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 4.59.22 PM

https://sanantonioinformer.com/53825/worlds-first-solar-panel-mural-revealed/

A solar panel went up in downtown San Antonio on Friday , and it’s one that’s unlike any other. “This is an excellent example of combining art and technology, art and science,” said Penny Boyer of the Land Heritage Institute , a 1,200-acre nature preserve that promotes land stewardship and renewable energy. “This is the world’s first solar mural installation.” The mural is actually comprised of four panels combined to form a 6 and one-half feet by 13-foot solar panel mural. Artist Cruz Ortiz created a Monarch Butterfly, labeling it La Monarca — Spanish for the monarch — and appearing much like a large Loteria card. There’s also a 24 in the upper left. “The 24 indicates the 24 actions that our city has agreed to take on to become the first monarch butterfly champion city as designated by the National Wildlife Federation,” she said. The Land Heritage Institute’s Robert Ferry says right now we’re on the cusp of major…

Original published: 2017-11-13 22:08:44 Read the full San Antonio News here

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