Habitat for Monarchs Installs New Waystation

By Master Naturalist Pamela Flaming

On a brisk, sunny morning in early November, new homeowner Carla watched as several volunteers installed edging, prepared the soil, and planted native vegetation for what would become a Monarch Waystation in her front yard. Many homeowners are planting Waystations to help feed migrating monarchs and to provide host plants for their larvae as they grow and develop into beautiful, mature monarchs. What was different about this Waystation, however, was that it was installed at a Habitat for Humanity house, thanks to a new program developed by Bluestem Master Naturalists, Grayson County Master Gardeners, and Habitat for Humanity.

Called Habitat for Monarchs, the program offers Habitat homeowners the opportunity to have Monarch Waystations in their yards. If they accept, volunteer Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners install the gardens and teach the homeowners how to maintain them. So far, the program has installed four Monarch Waystations at Habitat houses in Sherman and Denison, according to Linn Cates, leader of the Project.

Volunteer Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners install Monarch Waystations at a Habitat for Humanity House

Grayson County is in the middle of what is called the Monarch Flyway; Monarchs from throughout the eastern and Midwestern states fly south through Texas on their way to Mexico, where they spend the winter. In the spring, Monarchs migrate back to the northern United States, using the same route. During the fall migration, monarchs need nectar to sustain them on their journey; in the spring, they need host plants on which to lay their eggs. Thus, a Monarch Waystation includes several types of wildflowers and native plants that flower at different times to provide an ongoing source of nectar, as well as milkweed as host plants. Cates explains that it is also important to have some native grasses in the mix, as they provide cover for the butterflies.

Providing Waystations is particularly important for Grayson County at this time. Rapid development has reduced the amount of habitat available for Monarchs and other pollinators. According to pollinator expert Doug Tallamy, even small suburban gardens can have a significant impact on monarch populations if they contain the right mix of native plants. That is the goal of Habitat for Monarchs—to provide suburban gardens that 

sustain monarchs that migrate through our area. New homeowner Carla is thrilled to have a waystation. “This is a way I can give back. I love butterflies, and I like the idea of making a good home for them.”

If you are interested in learning how to build a Monarch Waystation, you can find complete instructions on the Monarch Watch website. If you’d like to help Habitat for Monarchs build more Waystations, please contact us.

Refuge Update:

It is a great time to visit the refuge! The trails are wonderful and thousands of geese are enjoying the fields of winter wheat.

Notice: Due to the Coronavirus, the Visitor Center remains closed.  Refuge lands remain open to the public from sunrise to sunset daily.  Restrooms are located at Goode Day Use Area, the Visitor Center, Big Mineral Day Use Area and Sandy Point Day Use Area. 

Second Saturday:

The Eastern Bluebird with John Van Bebber

Saturday, January 8th, at 10:00 AM Online via ZOOM (Registration Required)

Photo by Laurie Blankenship-Lawler

Join us to hear all about the beautiful Eastern Bluebird: John Van Bebber will focus on their characteristics and habits - both as individuals and mating couples. Learn about the Friends of Hagerman nestbox trails, including their history, statistics, and maintenance.

Puddles' Craft Corner


By Cindy Steele, Master Naturalist

Welcome back to Puddles’ Craft Corner.  It’s January!  It’s that time when we think about the cold weather, and that means thinking about things like building snowmen, snowball fights, snow angels…in other words – SNOW!  Here in the North Texas/Southern Oklahoma area we usually don’t see snow until January or February, if we even see snow at all.  We might be making paper snowflakes at school or at home, dreaming of waking up to a snowy wonderland.

When we do get snow, it’s a magical experience…especially out at Hagerman NWR.  If you happen to be out at the refuge during or after a snow, the whole refuge takes on a different sound and look...

Birding with Jack

Updated, Weekly Census Results

By Master Naturalist Jack Chiles, Mike Petrick and

Dr. Wayne Meyer (Pictured Right)

Each Tuesday a team of experienced birders, including Master Naturalist Jack Chiles, traverse 35 miles of refuge roads and hiking trails, documenting every bird they encounter. This Bird Census is reported to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology for use in research, and each week we will bring you a link to their actual bird count, and a summary of their adventures.

Shop Amazon Smile to Support the Friends of Hagerman

Amazon SmileDid you know that you can support the Friends of Hagerman while shopping on Amazon? If you shop on Amazon using this Amazon Smile link, the Friends will receive 0.5% of eligible purchases. Simply go to smile.amazon.com and sign in with your Amazon account. Under "Your Account" select "Change your Amazon Smile Charity" and enter "Friends of Hagerman" in the charity search box. Once your results appear, select the Friends of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge Foundation. Every time you make a purchase on Amazon Smile, the Friends will get a donation. Thanks for helping us make Hagerman a great wildlife refuge!

Kroger: Stop by the customer service desk at Kroger and link your Kroger Card to the Friends of Hagerman: the Friends will get rewards for every dollar you spend, at no cost to you.

Thank You

To Our Contributors:

Master Naturalist Pamela Flaming, Master Naturalist Jack Chiles,  Master Naturalist Cindy Steele

Refuge Manager: Kathy Whaley

Deputy Refuge Manager: Paul Balkenbush

Visitor Services Manager: Spencer Beard 

Editor: Patricia Crain

Friends of Hagerman NWR Foundation

6465 Refuge Road, Sherman, TX 75092

Phone: 903-786-2826

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