Kudos to Cheltenham Township for the Monarch Pledge and Pollinator Corner

Jamilee Hoffman
Apr 17, 2024

Bee

This guest blog is a repost from Cheltenham Township’s Pollinator Corner blog. Find the original post here.

Way to go, Cheltenham! We are so pleased that you took the Mayors’ Monarch pledge and have created a Pollinator Corner for residents.

TTF loves pollinators! Native plants need pollinators, and vice versa. Natives play a critical role in the health of our watershed. They provide habitat for native species in a challenging landscape and require less care than many exotic and non-native species. Often, they require less water and have deeper, more established root systems that help hold streambanks into place. Native plants also allow stormwater to seep into the ground better, and recharge groundwater. Learn more about native plants in our 2024 seed-starting workshop blog. 

We host pollinator hotel workshops so that our watershed residents, community members, and constituents understand how valuable it is to attract native species such as pollinators to your yard, and how important pollinators are to watershed restoration. Learn how to build your hotel here!

Posted on Friday April 12, 2024
Resident Photo Contest: Pollinator Edition

April 12, 2024 – Pollinator Photo Contest

Monarch ButterflyYou may have participated in our Fall or Winter Photo Contests over the past two years.  Now, the Township is adding a spring/summer photo contest, with one catch – the subject of the photo must be a butterfly or a bee.  (Yes, other insects and animals are pollinators, but we want to see butterflies/moths or bees/wasps for this contest!)

Photos must be taken this year within Cheltenham Township, and a maximum of three photos per person will be accepted.

Winner of the contest will be published in the Township’s Fall/Winter 2024 Cheltenham Update Newsletter and shared on social media. By submitting a photo, you give the Township permission to use the photo for these purposes.

Email submissions to Lauren at lwalter@cheltenhampa.gov by August 31, 2024 and please state location taken. Good luck!

(Photo credit: Wendy Ankrom, former EAC Chair)

 

March 29, 2024 – All About Monarchs!

Let’s introduce the Monarch Butterfly: this large and brilliantly-colored monarch butterfly is among the most easily recognizable of the butterfly species that call North America home. They have two sets of wings and a wingspan of three to four inches (7-10cm). Their wings are a deep orange with black borders and veins, and white spots along the edges. The underside of the wings is pale orange. Male monarchs have two black spots in the center of their hind wings, which females lack. These spots are scent glands that help males attract female mates. Females have thicker wing veins than males. The butterfly’s body is black with white markings.

Monarch caterpillars are striped with yellow, black, and white bands, and reach lengths of two inches (five centimeters) before metamorphosis. They have a set of antennae-like tentacles at each end of their body. The monarch chrysalis, where the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis into the winged adult butterfly, is a beautiful seafoam green with tiny yellow spots along its edge.

Where can you see monarchs? Monarch butterflies are found across North America wherever suitable feeding, breeding, and overwintering habitat exists. They are broken into two populations separated by the Rocky Mountains, called the eastern and the western populations.

monarch migration map

Whether monarchs are present in a given area within their range depends on the time of year. They are one of the few migratory insects, traveling great distances between summer breeding habitat and winter habitat where they spend several months inactive. In the summer they range as far north as southern Canada. In the fall the eastern population migrates to the cool, high mountains of central Mexico, where they spend the entire winter.

The population east of the Rocky Mountains contains the majority of the North American monarch population, which completes its northward migration through successive generations. They are found in the highest concentrations along a migratory flyway corridor through the central United States. In spring the monarchs leave overwintering grounds in Mexico and migrate north into Texas and the Southern Plains, then up through the Northern Plains and the Midwest, and finally up into the Great Lakes region. By late summer, eastern monarchs have spread north into Canada and eastward from the central migratory corridor throughout the Northeast and Southeast states.


Cheltenham Township Signs National Wildlife Federation’s “Mayors’ Monarch Pledge”

At its legislative meeting February 21, 2024, Cheltenham Township’s Board of Commissioners voted to take the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge for the third year, committing to take actions to help save the declining monarch butterfly and other pollinators. In taking the pledge, Cheltenham is part of an expanding North American network of cities working to create habitat in public parks, public landscaping, vacant lots, roadsides, medians, green roofs, backyard gardens and open spaces throughout the entire community.

Found across the United States, monarch butterflies numbered around 1 billion in 1996. Today, their numbers have declined significantly as a result of numerous threats, particularly the loss of habitat due to cropland conversion, urban development, and agricultural practices. 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 each year to create habitat and educate residents on how to make a difference at home or in their community. Communities who take the pledge commit to at least three of 30 action items to help save the monarch butterfly.

In its first two years, Cheltenham committed to the following actions:

  • Issuing a proclamation to raise awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly and the species’ need for habitat;
  • Launching and maintaining a public communication effort to encourage residents to plant monarch gardens at their homes;
  • Supporting native seed swap and plant sales through the efforts of the Environmental Advisory Council, Glenside Library, and Friends of High School Park;
  • Planting a monarch/pollinator-friendly demonstration garden at the Township Administration Building; and
  • Adding educational signage to that demonstration garden about the plants.

In addition to continuing the above, for the 2024 pledge, Cheltenham is increasing its efforts through the addition of monarch and pollinator habitat in Grove Park (Glenside), and a summer-long photo contest to capture pollinators, all culminating in a Monarch Festival this September.  We will be sharing resources, tips, and progress updates here in our Pollinator Corner all summer long!

Through the National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Programs, cities, counties and towns across the United States are helping local wildlife by restoring and reconnecting habitat in urban and suburban areas while reconnecting people with nature. For more information about the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, please go to: NWF.org/MayorsMonarchPledge.

Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.

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