MONTCLAIR, NJ – The Northeast Earth Coalition announced Saturday that Montclair, NJ has been named an official Monarch City by Monarch U.S.A. following approval of an application for same.
This week, the Northeast Earth Coalition applied with Monarch City USA, a national organization that promotes the protection of the Monarch butterfly, for recognition as a “Monarch City USA.” The application was well-received, making Montclair the second Monarch City in NJ (after Long Branch) and the fifth in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Russ Stubbles, founder of Monarch City USA, said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have Montclair with us. Your people are doing all kinds of good things for the environment and the communities you are working with.”
At the next township council meeting, Monarch butterfly supporters third Ward Councilor Lori Price Abrams and Councilor-at-Large Peter Yacobellis will introduce a proclamation declaring Montclair a Monarch City USA. At 3:00 pm on August 20th at Crane Park, The Northeast Earth Coalition will celebrate this designation at the Northeast Earth Coalition’s annual butterfly event. All are invited to attend.
“We can be a town that achieves a AAA bond rating and brings back the monarchs. And that’s what I love about us,” said Councilor-at-Large Peter Yacobellis. “From requiring mostly native, pollinator-friendly vegetation on public land to banning gas leaf blowers most of the year, we have been taking steps to restore our local eco-system.”
Yacobellis has been leading many of these efforts over his two years in office.
“The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently added the monarchs to its endangered species list. Their population has fallen dramatically over the last 10 years because of pesticides, herbicides, urban development, and agricultural expansion. We can take local action by supporting the planting of milkweed and nectar plants,” said Jose German Gomez, Montclair resident and founder of the Northeast Earth Coalition. “Our town’s environment will be improved by joining other cities in the Monarch City USA program. The internationally recognized signs we put up in public spaces will symbolize our belief in a better environmental future for all.” he added
Montclair continues to enhance its reputation as a model environmental protection community. In 2008, the township was certified by National Wildlife Federation as the first Community Wildlife Habitat in New Jersey, and in 2020 it became the state’s host town for the Northeast Pollinator Pathway Project. For decades, an active group of monarch butterfly enthusiasts, including author Trina Paulus, have been raising awareness about the importance of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.
Besides making Montclair a more enjoyable, scenic, peaceful, and joyful place to live, monarch butterflies are pollinators and benefit flowers and fruits. Their protection is especially important now that they have been recognized as a species in danger of extinction.
Monarch City USA’s recognition of Montclair highlights the town’s commitment to the environment and to pollinators in particular. Projects in town include butterfly gardens at all public schools; Crane Park serves as a model pollinator garden. The Township’s recently passed native vegetation ordinance is also an important step in support of pollinators.