The Twin Cities of Minnesota Pledge to Help Monarch Butterflies
March 31, 2016
Milkweed is essential for monarchs; it is the only plant they lay eggs on and the only food sourc for monarch caterpillars. Photo by Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS.
The Twin Cities of Minnesota, and its communities, have recognized the importance of the monarch butterfly and all it stands for.
Mayor Chris Coleman, of St. Paul, and Mayor Betsy Hodges, of Minneapolis, have joined forces to sign the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, making the Twin Cities the 100th locale nationwide to take the Pledge. The Pledge is a National Wildlife Federation campaign working to empower mayors and local government chief executives to help save the declining monarch butterfly.
The news of the Twin Cities committing to monarch conservation is just in time for the monarch butterfly’s journey north from Mexico to the southern United States. The communities of Minneapolis and St. Paul can help butterflies by taking action - planting milkweed and nectar plants, or sharing this information with a neighbor. Mayor Chris Coleman said, "Saint Paul continues to be a leader in addressing environmental issues, including the decline of monarchs in our community, and we continue to work with volunteers to enhance monarch habitats in our parks, on the grounds of our municipal buildings and across our city."
During the summer, monarchs will call the upper Midwest home. Creating habitat in the Twin Cities will help monarchs thrive and reproduce during the summer months, and also gear up for their amazing fall migration to Mexico.
Through the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, cities and municipalities commit to create habitat and educate citizens on the ways they can make a difference at home or in their community. Mayors who take the pledge commit to at least three of 25 action items to help save the monarch butterfly. These actions can include creating a monarch-friendly demonstration garden at city hall, converting abandoned lots to monarch habitat, changing mowing schedules to allow milkweed to grow unimpeded and 22 other possible actions. “I am proud to take this pledge to promote monarch habitat in Minneapolis. We took important action last year to become a pollinator-friendly community, and I am pleased to build upon that action to encourage the creation of monarch habitats on City-owned property and in neighborhoods across our city,” said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a strong partner of the National Wildlife Federation and supporter of the Pledge. At a more local level, the Twin Cities is basically in the Service’s Midwest Region’s backyard. “Thank you to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges for committing to help monarchs and other pollinators in the Twin Cities. By working with communities across the country, we can help ensure a future filled with monarchs." said Tom Melius, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Midwest Region. "A garden of native milkweed and other plants in your yard can ensure this iconic species and its amazing migration can be enjoyed for generations to come."
In addition to the Twin Cities, other major Midwest cities that have signed the pledge include Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and South Bend, Indiana. See a complete list of more than 100 mayors that have committed to take a total of more than 400 of these actions for the monarch butterfly in the coming year.
Monarch butterfly with the Minneapolis skyline in the background. Photo by Kyle Daly/USFWS.