McAllen, Texas — A new mural celebrates the habitat restoration and conservation initiatives implemented by the city of McAllen to protect the enigmatic and imperiled monarch butterfly. The artwork, titled “Destino Monarca” after the National Wildlife Federation’s monarch conservation plan for the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, was created by the renowned artist Irving Cano and unveiled by Mayor Javier Villalobos at a community event.
“The iconic monarch butterfly is in deep danger due to deforestation and climate change but across backyards, towns and cities, individual actions can make an enormous difference in supporting this unique species,” said Dr. Rebeca Quiñonez-Piñón, chief monarch recovery strategist for the National Wildlife Federation. “Texas is a crucial piece to the monarch conservation puzzle and a vital state for the eastern migratory monarch butterfly by serving as a refuge and breeding ground, providing native milkweed during the spring and fall migrations. The city and its residents have demonstrated their commitment to protecting monarch butterflies and we thank them for their incredible collaborative contributions to monarch conservation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.”
“This mural at Quinta Mazatlan serves as a tool to help celebrate the monarch butterfly. Irving Cano’s art tells the story of our natural and cultural history in the Rio Grande Valley and inspires people to take action to protect the monarch,” said Mayor Javier Villalobos. “Since taking the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge we have preserved and created more than 39 acres of butterfly gardens, planted over 10,000 native plants, and will continue to advocate for the protection of the monarch butterfly and all living things for the health of all.”
Sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, H-E-B Grocery Company LP and individual donors, the mural is located at the Quinta Mazatlan, World Birding Center at 600 Sunset Dr., McAllen, Texas. The city of McAllen has committed to the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge since 2015 and is collaborating with the Federation to restore climate-resilient native habitat, an effort that helps to put into effect the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas monarch conservation plan. For McAllen, the plan includes creating an additional 25 acres of pollinator-friendly habitat.
As part of the Mayor's Monarch Pledge, the City of McAllen has hosted four monarch festivals, organized more than 50 native plant sales and giveaways, created butterfly gardens at 10 elementary schools and engaged with nearly 150,000 people about monarch butterfly conservation The art installment with Irving Cano is one more action taken toward the pledge to engage the community and advance monarch butterfly education and awareness.
Through the Mayors' Monarch Pledge, U.S. cities, municipalities and other communities like McAllen commit to creating habitat for the monarch butterfly and pollinators and educating residents about how they can make a difference at home and in their community. The program recently set a new milestone with 345 mayors and communities taking the pledge.
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