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Mayor's Monarch Pledge

Contact Information

Parks & Recreation Department1000 Krenek Tap Road979.764.3486

JOIN THE MONARCH PLEDGE

In 2016, then-College Station Mayor Nancy Berry proclaimed Jan. 28 as Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Day to raise awareness of the decline of the monarch butterfly and the need for habitat. Mayor Karl Mooney has continued that commitment.

The National Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services created the  Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, calling on government leaders to commit to specific actions to help save the threatened butterfly. 

The Parks & Recreation Department responded by collaborating with community partners to plant milkweed and other nectar-producing plants in community and neighborhood parks. College Station now has seven gardens that contain the butterfly’s host plant — Lick Creek Park, Bee Creek Park, Gabbard Park, Veterans Park & Athletic Complex, Richard Carter Park, Stephen C. Beachy Central Park, and the Aggie Field of Honor & Memorial Cemetery. 

Mowing schedules have also been altered to allow milkweed to grow, and milkweed and other plants that benefit pollinators are placed in community and school gardens to educate and engage our citizens.

MONARCH MIGRATION
Monarchs travel south each fall to reach warmer climates with abundant food. Most come from Canada and the northern United States and find their way to fir forests high in Central Mexico's mountains. Over the winter, they roost together in large numbers among the tree branches. 

In the spring, they return to Texas and the southern United States, where they lay eggs on milkweed and die. The young hatch and mature into adult monarchs, then continue northward. 

By September and October, the great-grandchildren — and sometimes great-great-grandchildren — of the monarch that migrated the previous fall arrive back in Canada and the northern United States.

WHY ARE MONARCH AT RISK?

Monarch populations across North America have dropped by about 90% over the past 20 years because of lost habitat caused by urban development, agricultural practices, mowing and herbicide applications, insecticides, and severe weather events. Mexico’s Commission for National Protected Areas recently reportedthat the number of monarchs that showed up at their winter resting grounds decreased by about 26% this year.

The butterfly requires two kinds of plants — nectar (food for adult monarchs) and larval (food for caterpillars). Since monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed, females must deposit their eggs on milkweed leaves, or the larvae will starve.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The monarch is Texas’ state insect.

  • In the fall, monarchs need abundant nectar for their journey to Mexico. In the spring, monarchs need milkweeds (to lay their eggs on) and nectar plants (for energy).

  • Most milkweed contain a poison that caterpillars absorb into their bodies. The poison makes them taste bad to birds and other predators.

  • Adult monarchs that hatch in the fall can live up to eight months. Adults that hatch in the spring and summer live only four to six weeks.

  • Monarchs can travel between 50-100 miles a day, and it can take up to two months to complete their migration.

  • A butterfly drinks through its straw-like mouth (proboscis) but tastes with its feet.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
As part of the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, the Parks and Recreation Department has free monarch butterfly seed packets available on weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Parks & Recreation Office (1000 Krenek Tap Road) and the Lick Creek Nature Center (13600 Rock Prairie Road). Each household can receive two packets that will cover more than 20 square feet. 

If you have a bit of a spare garden space to plant native milkweed and other nectar-producing plants, we encourage you to become part of this worthwhile community effort. You’ll be helping  one of nature’s great wonders survive while enjoying a front-row seat to the spectacular metamorphosis and migration.

Here are some tips for your garden:
  • The ideal time for planting milkweed is early June and July.

  • Pick a spot with lots of sunshine.

  • Light soils are better than those with heavy clay.

  • Gardens need a combination of milkweed and nectar plants such as black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, and Joe-Pye weed.

  • Make sure your garden is pesticide-free.

  • Provide a water source — place shallow dishes of water in sunny areas or create a muddy spot.

  • Look for the monarch caterpillar in July, August, September, and October.

COMMUNITY PARTNERS
• A&M Garden Club
Brazos Valley Texas Master Naturalist
Keep Brazos Beautiful
• Monarch Gateway

DEMONSTRATION GARDENS
We invite you to visit our community demonstration gardens that were created by local community organizations:

BEE CREEK PARK 
1900 ANDERSON ST.
Butterflies in the Brazos

RICHARD CARTER PARK 
1800 BRAZOSWOOD DRIVE
A&M Garden Club

GABBARD PARK 
1201 DEXTER DRIVE
Brazos Texas Master Naturalist


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