Once a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings, the monarch butterfly has adopted a new role as an ambassador for the crisis facing pollinators today.
Monarch butterflies have captivated the scientific and cultural imaginations for centuries, with their unique coloring and distinct migratory pattern — it’s the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do. But in the last two decades, the monarch population has been decimated by pesticide use and rapid urbanization destroying their natural habitats.
June 17-23 is National Pollinators week. At NiSource, we’re committed to serving as responsible stewards of natural and environmental resources every week of the year. Part of fulfilling this commitment is a pledge to be good stewards of the environment through implementing innovative conservation approaches.
Last week, a group of employees volunteered with Green Columbus to create a Monarch Waystation from an abandoned lot. In just a couple hours with the threat of a downpour looming, the group managed to create a beautiful, sustainable habitat for the monarchs as they migrate through the area.
Recently a NiSource consultant, Johnny White, from Grow With Trees, a group supporting our Integrated Vegetation Management Program — visited an elementary school in Pataskala, Ohio, to educate fifth-grade students on the importance of pollinators. He also announced NiSource’s contribution to the school’s Outdoor Classroom — assisting with a ¼ acre pollinator site which will also become a certified Monarch Waystation.
The visit was also appreciated by the teacher who said, “WOW, what a great day in science … the students had a ball and loved exploring in the outdoor classroom. It was fantastic. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Several employees, Tony Tipton, survey & land leader, Susan Murray, land tech 2, Jenn Murray, manager of survey & land and others from Grow With Trees led the project, noting that NiSource is actively working with local schools, property owners and within rights of way to develop flourishing pollinator habitats. The elementary school fit the bill perfectly for a pollinator site with a motivated teacher orchestrating the development of an outdoor classroom, a willing principal, and a site that met criteria for pollinator development including sun, soil, and space.
Every backyard can become an oasis for monarchs. Follow NiSource on social media to get tips on how to make your backyard an official monarch waystation!