Here are five things to put on your Cardinal & Gold radar this week:
1) March 14 is national “Learn About Butterflies Day,” so why not plan a visit to the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing at Reiman Gardens, where you can see more than 800 butterflies? Can’t make it to Reiman Gardens for an in-person visit? Read RG butterfly curator Nathan Brockman’s blog or download the RG butterfly app.
2) Have you heard of the “Butterfly Effect?” Andy Andrews’ popular motivational video about how all of our choices can affect future generations is not only motivational and thought-provoking, but also is rife with references to Iowa State, the state of Iowa, and some of Iowa State’s most successful alumni. It’s 10 minutes of your time that won’t go to waste on YouTube.
3) The World Wildlife Fund recently reported some encouraging news about butterflies overwintering in Mexico — the population this year grew to cover 10 acres of forest, up from fewer than three acres during the last three winters. It’s evidence, experts say, that efforts to increase the population of pollinators in North America may be paying off. Those efforts include last year’s establishment of the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium at ISU, which aims to develop a science-based approach to fostering habitat in rural landscapes that does not hinder agricultural production.
Consortium goals for 2016 include refinement of habitat maintenance strategies, creating more habitat in Iowa, and a continuation of efforts to evaluate milkweed species and companion plants at the ISU Research and Demonstration Farms.
“These monarch population numbers are encouraging,” said Sue Blodgett, chair of the ISU entomology department. “The overwintering numbers for 2015-16 provide us time to develop and implement long-term habitat conservation strategies that will provide the foundation for a resilient monarch population.”
4) The Unified Butterfly Recorder, a mobile app developed by a team of ISU computer engineering students in 2013, continues to garner positive reviews in the Google Play Store. The app offers butterfly researchers and enthusiasts the ability to record data from butterfly sightings, automatically cataloging weather, location, and timestamps.
5) On this Spring Break Monday, let us leave you with a traditional Gaelic blessing:
“May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun,
and find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches today,
tomorrow and beyond.”
Okay, maybe we’re stretching a bit with the Gaelic butterfly blessing, but it was the only way to tie the NCAA tournament into this week’s butterfly theme: the Iowa State men’s basketball team has earned the No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament Midwest Region and will take on the No. 13-seed Iona Gaels Thursday at noon MT in Denver, Colo. We wish them all the luck, happiness, and riches that day and beyond, of course. If they Cyclones advance, they will play the winner of No. 5 Purdue/No. 12 Little Rock on Saturday, also in Denver.
Plans for fan activities and events in Denver are still TBD, but stay tuned to www.isualum.org/ncaa for the latest information as soon as it becomes available. Information about local gamewatches will be available on our online events calendar and of course on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Time to dance, #cyclONEnation!