For Immediate Release
April 27, 2016
Contact: Tina Buxton Horticulturalist
Parks and Recreation Department479-287-0291
City Grows Milkweed for Fayetteville Public Schools to Help Save the Monarch Butterfly
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Mayor Lioneld Jordan took the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors Monarch Pledge in November 2015. Today he visited Vandergriff Elementary School meeting with student gardeners, touring the school gardens and greenhouse, and learning from students about helping save the monarch butterfly by planting milkweeds. As part of the Mayors Monarch Pledge, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department grew milkweed plants this spring for all of the Fayetteville Public Schools gardens. Each school is receiving three native milkweed plants to grow on their school grounds to increase habitat for monarch butterflies and serve as a teaching tool for students. To attract pollinators, native perennial and annual plants were also donated to the school gardens.
Fayetteville’s Parks and Recreation Department is growing milkweed to give away to citizens at the Fayetteville Farmers Market in late May.
Fayetteville and community partners have committed to creating habitats and educating citizens on ways they can make a difference to help save the monarch butterfly. Monarch butterflies are found across the United States and numbered some 1 billion in 1996. Their numbers have declined by approximately 90 percent since 1996 as a result of numerous threats. One third of the monarch’s summer breeding habitat has been destroyed, largely in the Midwestern United States. Expansion of row crop agriculture and, to a lesser extent, development, has destroyed 90 percent of our nation’s native grassland ecosystems, on which monarchs depend. Milkweed, the only host plant for monarch caterpillars, has declined in the U.S. due to overuse of herbicides by commercial agriculture and conventional gardening practices in suburban and urban areas.
Background information on the monarch butterfly decline and the role of the National Wildlife Foundation as advocates for actions that improve monarch butterfly habitat can be found here.