Commentary by Erin Murphy
Monarch butterflies are amazing creatures. They might be small, but they are mighty. Every year the monarch butterflies travel up to 3,000 miles in the winter to Mexico. In 2004, it is estimated 550 million butterflies made the trek to Mexico, but by 2015 only 56.5 million made the trip. One of the biggest problems is a lack of native nectar plants such as milkweed in the Midwest.
The City of Westfield along with Hamilton Co. Parks and Recreation is doing its part in helping to save our monarch butterflies through habitats and education. Mayor Andy Cook is one of 60 mayors who has taken the “Mayor’s Monarch Pledge” through the National Wildlife Federation. By taking this pledge, Mayor Cook has chosen three initiatives that the city can implement to help save the butterflies.
Mayor Cook discussed opportunities with the Public Works Dept. on revised mowing programs to help the native nectar plants thrive. Mayor Cook also appointed a staff member in the Public Works Dept.to oversee planting of milkweed and native nectar plants in the right-of-way and medians along the U.S. 31 thoroughfare.
The last action item was presenting a proclamation to Hamilton Co. Parks and Recreation to celebrate their educational programs focused on helping the monarch butterfly. Cool Creek Nature Center offers our community resources on how we can do our part in protecting all pollinators. The city encourages residents to visit and learn how they can help.
If you would like more information on the “Mayor’s Monarch Pledge,” you can visit www.nwf.org.