Oakland Is Largest City in California to Take the National Wildlife Federation’s “Mayors’ Monarch Pledge”
Oakland, CA – Today Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf took the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, committing to help save the imperiled monarch butterfly. This national campaign supports more than 200 mayors and local government chief executives to take action to help the monarch butterfly and pollinators. 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.
“Today we continue our partnership with the City of Oakland and celebrate not only Mayor Schaaf’s pledge to help save the monarch butterfly, but also all of the incredible urban wildlife conservation efforts happening in Oakland that are outlined in my book, When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors,” said Beth Pratt, California Director for the National Wildlife Federation. “I am excited to have the mayor affirm their commitment by taking NWF's Mayors’ Monarch Pledge and it is fitting that we're doing this at Lake Merritt, the sight of the first declared wildlife refuge in the country.”
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 225 mayors have now committed to take a total of more than 1,000 of these actions for the monarch butterfly in the coming year.
“The City of Oakland is proud to play co-host to this year’s annual meeting of the National Wildlife Federation, a crucial voice for wildlife and an inspiration for future generations of conservationists,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “A diverse and abundant wildlife habitat is essential for urban communities like Oakland. I am extremely proud of the work our City of Oakland staff is doing to raise awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly and the species’ need for habitat, and we are incredibly fortunate to have a community of committed residents who give so much of their time and resources to support this essential work.”
In Oakland, the Pollinator Posse of Oakland is actively creating habitat through the “urban jungle.” The Pollinator Posse creates pollinator-friendly landscaping to support our local ecosystems and does tremendous outreach and education. Using eco-friendly landscape techniques is at the heart of the Pollinator Posse’s work, which envisions a day when life-enhancing, thought-inspiring green spaces fill the city.
“I want to thank Mayor Libby Schaaf and the citizens of Oakland for committing to help monarchs and other pollinators by creating habitat across their city. Planting milkweed and other nectar-producing flowers will create attractive and healthy habitat for these charismatic and vital insects, while also promoting a vibrant city to live, play, and work," 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.”
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