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EPA Grant Supports New York City Monarch Butterfly Project

Release Date: 12/02/2015
Contact Information: Jennifer May-Reddy, 212-637-3658, may.jennifer@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $91,000 environmental education grant to Queens College to support the Queens College Metropolitan Monarch Alliance Project. The project is a community-based program to study and protect Monarch butterflies in New York City.

      “This innovative project will educate people of all ages about an important spring and summer visitor to New York City – Monarch butterflies,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “As beautiful as they are, Monarchs are also vulnerable to climate change and other environmental risks and the Queens College project will teach New Yorkers why they are important and how to help protect them.”

      According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North American monarch butterflies population declines are symptomatic of environmental problems that pose risks to their food production and habitats. It is more important than ever to improve the environmental conditions of these butterflies to prevent them from becoming extinct.

      Specifics of the grant is as follows:

      Queens College – Metropolitan Monarch Alliance Project - $91,000
      The goal of the Metropolitan Monarch Alliance (MMA) is to establish and conduct a community program to study and protect Monarch butterflies in New York City. Monarch butterflies are threatened by climate change and the loss of Monarch “way stations” in the metropolitan area. Monarch way stations are sites containing a variety of nectar-producing plants, especially milkweed, a family of plants that is the sole host for Monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars as well as a source of nectar for adult Monarchs. Queens College will use the EPA grant funding to conduct Monarch butterfly workshops for 150 elementary school teachers and 100 community members, with a goal of establishing Monarch butterfly way stations at five environmental education centers in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Queens College will also help teachers from 25 schools to establish their own Monarch butterfly way stations to give students hands-on experience in caring for Monarchs.

      Queens College chose to focus on Monarch butterflies as the environmental focus of this project because they are an iconic, local species and are noteworthy for how vulnerable they are to climate change, the deleterious effects of pesticides, the destruction of natural habitats, and the dangers posed by our biodiversity crisis. Activities to mitigate the variety of adverse factors that Monarch butterflies face support local place-based studies of nature, even in communities throughout New York City without access to green space.

      Queens College was one of three recipients to receive this round of grants from EPA Region 2, which is responsible for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight tribal nations. A total of $273,000 was awarded in EPA Region 2 for the three grants, and funding nationwide totaled approximately $3.3 million.

      Since 1992, EPA has distributed approximately $65.5 million supporting more than 3,600 grant projects.

      The grantees were selected from more than 400 applications received in February and March 2015. This longstanding, competitive grants program supports environmental education projects that increase public awareness about environmental issues and provide participants with the skills to take actions to protect the environment. The program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods or techniques.

      For more information on the new awardees and on how to apply for future Environmental Education grant competitions, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/education/environmental-education-ee-grants.


      Photo credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Photo credit: Lilibeth Serrano, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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