The Spring Green Garden Club of Carmel is asking the city to create a more welcoming environment for monarch butterflies.
The North American monarch butterfly population has dropped by 90 percent in the last 20 years, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The decline is attributed to land development, pesticides and the widespread eradication of milkweed, the primary source of nourishment for a monarch caterpillar.
Several members of the garden club asked the city council at its Dec. 3 meeting to take steps to promote the return of the monarch butterfly.
Cathy Weber, chair of Project Monarch for the club, asked councilors to remove milkweed from the list of undesirable or valueless plants in the city’s health and safety code and revise mowing programs to allow for milkweed habitats.
“As concerned citizens, Spring Green Garden Club believes Carmel has a critical role in helping to save the monarch butterfly,” Weber stated in an email. “We feel simple changes in local landscaping ordinances and policies can make a difference for the long-term survival of monarchs.”
The club also is asking Mayor Jim Brainard to take the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, which commits to taking steps to create a monarch-friendly community and educating citizens about the issue. The mayors of Indianapolis, Westfield, Zionsville and 10 other Indiana communities have already taken the pledge.
Other requests include declaring September 2019 as Monarch Butterfly Awareness Month in Carmel, creating a page on the city’s website to provide information about monarch-friendly backyards and creating Monarch Waystations – designated areas with milkweed and other monarch-friendly plants – inside the roundabouts at 116th Street and Keystone Parkway and Guilford Road and Carmel Drive.