Mayors’ Milkweed for Monarchs Campaign

butterflies-for-branson1b-logoCity of Branson Mayor Karen Best invites the community to join her along with elected officials, City staff, Branson School District and a variety of Branson business partners including Branson Convention Center, CoxHealth, Silver Dollar City, Showboat Branson Belle, Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and others to participate in a public proclamation event naming October 3 as City of Branson’s official ‘Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Day’.

This event will be held on Monday, October 3 from 3:00-4:00PM at The Butterfly Palace in Branson where enthusiasts and supporters will join forces to create habitats required by Monarch Butterflies for survival throughout the Ozark Mountain Region.

Under the City of Branson “Mayor’s Milkweed for Monarchs” campaign, Mayor Best will sign the “Mayors Monarch Pledge” declaring the city’s support for Monarch initiatives and its commitment to eight or more action items required of the multi-state effort. Mayor Karen Best is one of nearly 200 mayors throughout the Midwest who is taking action to help save the Monarch Butterfly, an iconic species whose populations have declined by 90% in the past two decades.

 

Through the National Wildlife Federation’s ‘Mayors’ Monarch Pledge’, cities and municipalities are forming initiatives to create natural habitat in landscapes to attract the butterfly, especially the milkweed that is required for the Monarch butterfly to lay its eggs – without milkweed, the Monarch is at risk of extinction.

“Through this challenge presented by St. Louis Mayor James Slay in his rally to partner with Midwest Mayors to help save the Monarch, I learned that the Monarch flyway runs from Mexico northward across Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Iowa on its journey to Minnesota and Canada every spring and fall,” says City of Branson Mayor Karen Best. “Even more fascinating is learning that Ozark Mountain Country is the midway point of the journey where the Monarch historically laid its eggs on milkweed plants and gathered its nectar for nutrition prior to completing its migratory flight. Milkweed is a flowering native plant that has been eradicated by modern landscaping methods; little did we know ten years ago that Monarch butterflies depended on milkweed for survival, and would face extinction without it. The City of Branson is seeking the help of citizens and businesses to commit to planting at least 10% milkweed and flowering native plants in landscapes to attract our winged friends back to
Branson.”

As part of this effort, three local Master Naturalists will be recognized for securing 200 native milkweed plants under a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to be planted at partner properties in the region as well as City of Branson-owned properties such as parks, fire stations, walking trails, Branson Recycle Center and the Branson Convention Center. Mayor Best will also host a ceremonial milkweed planting paying tribute to St. Louis Mayor James Slay who signed the first Monarch pledge and challenged other Midwest Mayors to help save the Monarch – to date, more than 186 Mayors have signed the ‘Mayors for Monarch Pledge.’ Additionally, Missouri Master Naturalists along with butterfly experts at The Butterfly Palace, community supporters will have the opportunity to learn about how they, too, can create natural habitats in neighborhoods, private residencies and commercial properties to help bring back the Monarch Butterfly to the region.

More information about the Mayors for Monarchs initiative is found at http://monarchjointventure.org.

For more information about the City of Branson Sustainability Council’s initiatives to save the Monarch Butterfly or to become a Monarch Butterfly Partner, contact Mona Menezes, City of Branson Engineering at (417) 337-8566 or mmenezes@bransonmo.gov.