The San Antonio Zoo is joining the ranks of Monarch Joint Venture partners working to conserve the monarch migration. The Zoo is working to foster an appreciation for monarchs in by connecting visitors to the world of butterflies through their Monarchs and Milkweed Conservation Program. They not only have a butterfly exhibit for Zoo goers, but also participate in citizen science, provide habitat throughout the Zoo grounds, and are growing native Texas milkweeds. San Antonio recently became the first Monarch Champion City with their mayor signing the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge. To become a Champion City, San Antonio committed to adopt all 25 of the conservation practices listed as a part of the pledge, with the Zoo playing a large supporting role in this commitment. This winter the Zoo will host a butterfly conservation festival in celebration of the city’s recognition as a Monarch Champion City.
“We are overjoyed to become an official partner of the Monarch Joint Venture. The San Antonio zoo will continue our commitment to our citizen science programs to aid the Joint Venture and its partners to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. Our ultimate goal is to insure the wondrous monarch migrations preservation for future generations to enjoy.” says Laurie Brown, Education Manager for the San Antonio Zoo.
Monarch conservation is a natural fit for Texas and for the Zoo. Texas is an important stop on both the spring and fall migrations, and monarchs need abundant milkweed and nectar resources across the state. To help increase awareness and citizen science participation in this great monarch state, the MJV has worked with the Cibolo Nature Center since our beginning. The Zoo has partnered with Cibolo to expand this effort and aims to become another hub for monarch citizen science information and participation opportunities. Cibolo and the Zoo participate in programs like the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, Monarch Watch Tagging, and Project Monarch Health.
With an incredible reach of over 1,000,000 guests each year, including nearly 80,000 school children, we’re excited to work with the Zoo to spread awareness about monarch conservation needs. Their interpretive exhibits and on site habitat areas provide opportunities for visitors to intimately encounter monarchs, milkweeds, and a variety of other species. It is these opportunities that provide inspiration and motivation for getting involved in this important movement.
“The excitement that the San Antonio Zoo brings to our partnership is great to see! In collaborating with MJV and our partners to ensure the use of best practices, we hope to help San Antonio become the champion of Monarch Champion Cities!” says Wendy Caldwell, Monarch Joint Venture Program Coordinator.
Together the MJV and San Antonio Zoo are excited to further promote citizen science activities and support conservation of this iconic native species. To learn more, visit http://www.sazoo.org/conservation/education/.
The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo by the San Antonio Zoo.