Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell Pledges to Help Save the Monarch Butterfly

Mayor Longwell is the 200th Mayor to Take the National Wildlife Federation’s “Mayors’ Monarch Pledge”

Wichita, KS – Today, with the support of Mayor Jeff Longwell, Wichita became the 200th city to commit to the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge. This national campaign works with mayors and local government chief executives to help save the declining monarch butterfly.  By making this pledge the city is committing to create habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators and educate citizens about how they can contribute.

“Throughout the Central Monarch Flyway our nation’s cities are stepping up to save the monarch through the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “By working with leaders like Wichita Mayor Longwell and his colleagues working together in Wichita and with cities up and down Interstate 35, we will ensure that every American child has a chance to experience majestic monarchs in their backyards and communities.”

In 1996 Monarch populations soared as high as 1 billion; however, in recent years, despite being found all across the United States, their numbers have declined significantly. This is a result of numerous threats, particularly loss of habitat due to agricultural practices, development, and cropland conversion. Degradation of wintering habitat in Mexico and California has also had a negative impact on the species.

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. More than 200 mayors have now committed to take a total of more than 400 of these actions for the monarch butterfly in the coming year.

“Wichita is proud to join efforts to conserve our monarch population for generations to come,” said Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell. “This is one more example of how Wichita continues to be a leader in addressing environmental issues that are important to our citizens."

Through the Wichita Park and Recreation Department’s Wichita Wild Habitat Areas the city is already managing more than 1,700 acres of land for wildlife, including monarch butterflies and pollinators.  Botanica Wichita provides educational opportunities for thousands of kids and adults through its butterfly demonstration garden (established in 1992), its seasonal Butterfly House and countless workshops, lectures and field trips.  From the Wichita Wild Habitat Areas to Botanica Wichita’s gardens and educational programs to butterfly conservation efforts at local high schools, Wichita is passionate about helping to grow the Monarch population.

“I want to thank Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and the citizens of Wichita for committing to help monarchs and other pollinators by creating habitat across their city. Planting milkweed and other nectar-producing flowers will create sanctuaries for these charismatic and vital insects, while also engaging families and children in conservation and helping strengthen their connection to the natural world," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "Working together, we can secure the future of monarchs and make our cities more livable for people.”"

“We were truly excited to hear that Wichita was the 200th city to sign onto the NWF Mayor’s Monarch Pledge,” said Angela Anderson, President of the Kansas Wildlife Federation. “Monarchs are a critical species and Kansas is an important stop along their great migration.  These efforts are critical to securing the future of this species.”

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