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Mayor Sly James protects the monarchs

With monarch populations in decline, Kansas City Mayor Sly James has signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch pledge in a commitment to protect and restore monarch butterfly populations. He joins mayors from several other cities including St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

The signed pledge states, “Cities, towns and counties have a critical role to play to help save the monarch butterfly. Municipalities in particular can provide habitat at public parks, median strips, community gardens and municipal buildings that serve as community hubs such as recreation centers and libraries.”

Monarch populations have declined more than 90 percent in the past decade due to the loss of their host plant milkweed, development of natural areas and herbicide resistant crops. Kansas City hosts four generations of monarch butterflies each year. The last generation, reaching adulthood in September in Kansas City, is the super generation that will migrate to Mexico for the winter and then move back north in the spring, laying eggs for the first generation of monarch butterflies of the following year.

Monarch conservation efforts in KC

Many organizations in Kansas City are already working to provide habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Of the first 17 items listed on the Mayor’s Monarch pledge, organizations in and around Kansas City already have 16 in action. By signing the Mayor’s Monarch pledge, James is bringing citywide awareness and support for increasing monarch habitat and is supporting action that will ensure the continuation of the spectacular monarch migration.

In early summer 2015, a coalition of Kansas City organizations joined together to apply for a grant to improve and increase monarch habitat in Kansas City. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded them a $229,868 grant in September. Partners included Burroughs Audubon of Greater Kansas City, Bridging the Gap, Johnson County Parks, Department of Transportation, Kansas City Power and Light, Grow Native, The Westport Garden Club, Powell Gardens, Kansas City, MO Parks, and The Kansas City Native Plant Initiative. For more information on the grant, visit  

The signing of the Mayor’s Monarch pledge by James, along with the monarch conservation efforts already underway, designates Kansas City as a leading city in monarch conservation efforts.

Read the full NWF Mayor’s Monarch pledge here.

Top image: Bridging The Gap Executive Director Kristin Riott presented Mayor Sly James with a custom-made monarch bow tie.

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