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UTSA honored by federal government for monarch butterfly protection efforts

UTSA honored by federal government for monarch butterfly protection efforts

(Left to right) UTSA President Ricardo Romo, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Benjamin Tuggle, National Wildlife Federation Monarch Outreach Specialist Grace Barnett, Mayor Ivy Taylor, UTSA professor of environemental sciences Janis Bush, UTSA Dean of the College of Sciences George Perry and several "junior scientists" from Glenoaks Elementary.

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(April 29, 2016) -- This morning, UTSA President Ricardo Romo demonstrated the university’s enduring commitment to sustainability by dedicating 6.8 acres of the UTSA Main Campus to the research and preservation of Texas’ monarch butterfly.

“San Antonio was founded as an oasis, not a town,” Romo said. “We have what looks like a modest parcel of land, but this is going to be heaven for monarch butterflies.”

In June, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced funding for a $300,000 research proposal that is allowing UTSA to study the monarch butterfly and its main food source, milkweed.

Since that time, UTSA faculty members and students have been conducting roadside surveys throughout the state to determine the prevalence of monarch larvae and eggs in Texas. Their results will help preservationists determine whether the monarch should be placed on the federal endangered species list.

“The journey has been very exciting,” said Janis Bush, UTSA professor of environmental sciences, who has been leading the monarch research team. “As our state insect, the monarch needs our protection. Our laboratory has been honored to lead the research for the state on the status of the monarch.”

This morning’s event took place adjacent to the Brackenridge parking lots off UTSA Blvd. that UTSA dedicated to help preserve the monarch butterfly. Students have already begun to plant milkweed on the acreage.

“I’m immensely proud of what our environmental sciences team has accomplished, and the great impact they’re having on efforts to protect the monarch butterfly,” said George Perry, Semmes Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Neurobiology and dean of the UTSA College of Sciences.

Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, likewise honored Taylor for making the City of Antonio a Monarch Champion City by signing the Monarch Pledge in December.

Cheryl Jefferson, Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives Director of the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Research Station, and Grace Barnett, Monarch Outreach Specialist with the National Wildlife Federation, gave remarks honoring UTSA’s efforts to protect the monarch butterfly.

By Joanna Carver
Public Affairs Specialist

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