A boost for the butterflies: Flossmoor endorses Mayor’s Monarch Pledge

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A boost for the butterflies: Flossmoor endorses Mayor’s Monarch Pledge

November 25, 2020 - 22:24

Flossmoor is joining a national movement to help the monarch butterfly population, which has been declining over the past 20 years.

The Village Board voted 5-0 Monday, Nov. 16, to endorse the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, an initiative from the National Wildlife Federation and recommended by Flossmoor’s Green Commission. Trustee James Mitros was absent.

Monarch butterflies. (Stock photo)

The initiative is leveraging the power of elected leaders to promote the restoration of monarch habitats in their communities, according to a report from Assistant Village Manager Allison Matson. The pledge sets forth 24 action items to support the butterfly but requires only three be completed to take part. The Green Commission is recommending Flossmoor work toward all two dozen, though, which would earn the village the designation of Monarch Champion City.

“We’re excited to start those initiatives from our side of things,” Matson told the board.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, monarchs migrate from Mexico to Canada and back each year, but their population has declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades because their habitats — specifically milkweed — are disappearing.

Efforts to preserve them cost “little to nothing,” according to Green Commission member Phil DeSantis. The action items are divided into communications and convening, program and demonstration gardens, and systems change. They include actions such as issuing a proclamation to raise awareness for the monarch, hosting or supporting a native plant sale, and removing milkweed from the list of noxious plants in ordinances.

Trustee Joni Bradley-Scott said it was not a difficult resolution to support.

“Who doesn’t love a butterfly?” she said. “This is an easy program to get behind.”

But trustees had some questions and concerns. Trustee Brian Driscoll said he worried about the different levels of appreciation people in town might have for the appearance of prairie lands.

“I’m all for the monarch butterflies, but I want to make sure we’re not stepping into the law of unintended consequences,” he said. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Trustee Diane Williams shared similar concerns.

“I’m supportive of this, but I want to make sure we don’t have those unanticipated consequences,” she said.

DeSantis noted the board and Green Commission can decide what’s right for Flossmoor, and noted the steps outlined in the agreement are nonbinding. Village Attorney Kathleen Field Orr confirmed that.

“This would not supersede our ordinances, which have limitations on heights, unless they were amended as part of the program,” she said. “This would not take precedence over what we have in our codebook.”

DeSantis outlined a quarterly plan, which would see the village commit to coordinate and engage through the first three months of 2021; update policy and begin outreach in Quarter 2; monitor and expand community partnership in Q3; and report progress and create a 2022 plan by the end of the year.