U.S. Backs Queens Project on Monarch Butterflies

     QUEENS, N.Y. (CN) – A project on monarch butterflies earned New York City’s Queens College a $91,000 federal environmental grant on Wednesday.
     With North American monarch butterflies populations declining, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the time is now to improve environmental conditions and prevent the species from becoming extinct.
     Monarch butterflies rely on nectar-producing plants, especially milkweed, throughout their life cycle, but “way stations” of these plants in the New York City area are reportedly shrinking.
     The family of plants to which milkweed belongs is the sole host for monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars, and it is a source of nectar for adult monarchs.
     Monarch butterflies are also vulnerable to “climate change, the deleterious effects of pesticides, the destruction of natural habitats, and the dangers posed by our biodiversity crisis,” according to a statement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
     With the seven-figure grant to its Metropolitan Monarch Alliance Project, Queens College in Flushing says it will use the federal dollars to conduct 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,” according to a statement released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
     Queens College was one of three recipients, chosen from more than 400 applications, 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.
     Each of the other grantees received $91,000 as well, and funding nationwide totaled approximately $3.3 million.
     The EPA says it has distributed approximately $65.5 million supporting more than 3,600 grant projects since 1992.

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