Community Connect
Office of the Vice President for Community Services

Monarch Madness

College of Sciences protects endangered butterfly species.


College of Sciences protects endangered butterfly species.

In order to show UTSA's commitment to monarch butterfly conservation, the Administration has set aside approximately seven acres on the Main Campus to develop a pollinator habitat. The students, faculty and staff of the Environmental Science Program at UTSA are volunteering their time to develop the area as a pollinator garden. Additionally, the students and staff are working with the San Antonio community to help educate the citizens about the story of the monarch butterfly.

Through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service awarded to Dr. Janis Bush, the director of the Environmental Science Academic Programs and UTSA professor; the faculty, staff and students have visited elementary schools in the San Antonio community to teach elementary students about monarch butterflies.

San Antonio and UTSA are on the map for monarch butterfly conservation. Over the last twenty years, the monarch butterfly population has declined 90 percent. Without pollinators, many of the fruits and vegetables we rely on will not be available. To help with conservation efforts, the National Wildlife Federation initiated the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge. Local governments can become a part of the Leadership Circle by committing to at least eight of 24 action items which promote and conserve monarch butterflies.

The National Wildlife Federation did not expect any city to commit to all 24 action items, so when the City of San Antonio made the pledge to commit to all items, they created a new category – Monarch Champion Cities. San Antonio was the first to become a champion city. This was possible because of the collaboration between the City, UTSA, San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Water Systems, the San Antonio River Authority, and others.

College of Sciences protects endangered butterfly species.

As part of the collaboration, environmental science students, faculty, and staff have been busy volunteering for many events across the city. They have helped with the San Antonio Monarch Festival at the San Antonio Zoo. Stu-dents also received multiple requests from optimist clubs and organizations eager to learn about the monarch butterflies and what they can do as individuals to help this iconic species. “We have yet to turn down an opportunity to talk to the community about monarch butterflies,” said Bush. “It is a great for our students to be engaged with the San Antonio community, and teaching others about what they have learned in their academic program.”