The Mayors' Monarch Pledge:
The monarch butterfly is an iconic North American species whose multigenerational migration and metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly has captured the imagination of millions of Americans.
We, the undersigned mayors and heads of local or tribal government, are deeply concerned about the decline of the monarch butterfly population. Both the western and eastern monarch populations have experienced significant declines. Less than one percent of the western monarch population remains, while the eastern population has fallen by as much as ninety percent. Monarch scientists attribute the population decline to degradation and loss of summer breeding habitat in the U.S., and loss of winter habitat in south-central Mexico and coastal California.
Cities, towns, counties, and communities have a critical role to play to help save the monarch butterfly. Municipalities can provide habitat at public parks, median strips, community gardens, schools, and municipal buildings like recreation centers and libraries. Events such as community workshops, native plant giveaways, and monarch festivals, can educate residents about the cultural significance of monarchs and how to create habitat. Simple changes in landscaping ordinances or other policies can make a big difference for the monarch too.
We recognize the importance of creating monarch and pollinator habitat at parks, gardens, and other green spaces, that every member of our community can equally enjoy. Our work to help save the monarch butterfly intentionally engages all parts of our communities, ensuring that historically marginalized communities are not left out of the work or the many benefits this work will create.
When mayors speak up and take a stand, our communities notice. Therefore, we hereby commit to help restore habitat for the monarch and encourage our residents to do the same, so that these magnificent butterflies will once again flourish across the continent.
Mayors and heads of local or tribal government who have taken the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge must commit to implement at least three of the 30 following action items within a year of taking the pledge. At least one action must be taken from the “Program & Demonstration Gardens” section. Mayors that complete eight or more actions will receive special recognition as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Leadership Circle, and those that complete 24 or more actions will be recognized as a Monarch Champion.
Communications & Convening:
- Issue a Proclamation to raise awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly and the species’ need for habitat.
- Launch or maintain a public communication effort to encourage residents to plant monarch gardens at their homes or in their neighborhoods. (If you have community members who speak a language other than English, we encourage you to also communicate in that language; Champion Pledges must communicate in that language.)
- Engage with community garden groups and urge them to plant native milkweeds and nectar-producing plants.
- Engage with city parks and recreation, public works, sustainability, and other relevant staff to identify opportunities to revise and maintain mowing programs and milkweed / native nectar plant planting programs.
- Engage with gardening leaders and partners (e.g., Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, Nature Centers, Native Plant Society Chapters, other long-standing and influential community leaders) to support monarch butterfly conservation.
- Engage with Homeowners Associations (HOAs), Community Associations or neighborhood organizations to identify opportunities to plant monarch gardens and revise maintenance and mowing programs.
- Engage with developers, planners, landscape architects, and other community leaders and organizers engaged in planning process to identify opportunities to create monarch habitat.
- Create a community-driven educational conservation strategy that focuses on and benefits local, underserved residents.
- Create a community art project to enhance and promote monarch and pollinator conservation as well as cultural awareness and recognition.
Program & Demonstration Gardens:
- Host or support a native seed or plant sale, giveaway or swap.
- Facilitate or support a milkweed seed collection and propagation effort.
- Plant or maintain a monarch and pollinator-friendly demonstration garden at City Hall or another prominent or culturally significant community location.
- Convert vacant lots to monarch habitat.
- Plant milkweed and pollinator-friendly native nectar plants in medians and public rights-of-way.
- Launch or maintain an outdoor education program(s) (e.g., at schools, after-school programs, community centers and groups) that builds awareness and creates habitat by engaging students, educators, and the community in planting native milkweed and pollinator-friendly native nectar plants (i.e., National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA Schoolyard Habitats program and Monarch Mission curriculum).
- Earn or maintain recognition for being a wildlife-friendly city by participating in other wildlife and habitat conservation efforts (i.e., National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat program).
- Host or support a monarch neighborhood challenge to engage neighborhoods and homeowners’ associations within the community to increase awareness, support community unity around a common mission, and/or create habitat for the monarch butterfly.
- Initiate or support community science (or citizen science) efforts that help monitor monarch migration and health.
- Add or maintain native milkweed and nectar producing plants in community gardens.
- Launch, expand, or continue an invasive species removal program that will support the re-establishment of native habitats for monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
- Host or support a monarch butterfly festival that is accessible to all residents in the community and promotes monarch and pollinator conservation, as well as cultural awareness and recognition.
- Display educational signage at monarch gardens and pollinator habitat.
- Remove milkweed from the list of noxious plants in city weed / landscaping ordinances (if applicable).
- Change weed or mowing ordinances to allow for native prairie and plant habitats.
- Increase the percentage of native plants, shrubs and trees that must be used in city landscaping ordinances and encourage use of milkweed where appropriate.
- Direct city property managers to consider the use of native milkweed and nectar plants at city properties where possible.
- Integrate monarch butterfly conservation into the city’s Park Master Plan, Sustainability Plan, Climate Resiliency Plan or other city plans.
- Change ordinances so herbicides, insecticides, or other chemicals used in the community are not harmful to pollinators.
- Adopt ordinances that support reducing light pollution.
- California Specific: Pass a resolution to protect over-wintering monarch butterfly habitat on public or private lands.