The City of Valparaiso has become Indiana’s first Monarch City, USA, recognized by the nonprofit organization Monarch City, USA, for the city’s work to support the monarch population by providing habitats and awareness.

Monarch butterflies are threatened worldwide as their habitats of milkweed and other nectar plans are vanishing. More than a billion monarch butterflies have vanished since 1990, according to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The City of Valparaiso prepared a proclamation to raise awareness of the monarch butterfly’s plight, encouraging others to plant native milkweed and other nectar plants to welcome them to Valparaiso, provide stopping points for their migration. Valpo Mayor Matt Murphy recognized Jerry Newman, a Valparaiso resident working to promote awareness for monarch butterflies, as well as Jessica Coral and Valparaiso elementary school art teachers who led students in creating butterfly art now on display at Valparaiso’s City Hall, 166 Lincolnway.

The public may view the art during business hours, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, from now through May 21.

The City of Valparaiso has created butterfly habitats throughout City parks and properties, including a 13-acre way station for butterflies at Foundation Meadows Park. Valpo Parks also features a native tree arboretum, native prairie plantings on Chicago Street and at Lakewood Park, and about 10 acres of naturalized area at Creekside Park, inviting butterflies. The City’s Horticulture Department takes care of these areas.

To bring further awareness and support to the monarch population, VALE School, guided by Principal Mike Bendicsen, will work with Valpo Parks to plant a monarch-friendly garden at the Vale School later this spring. The City’s Parks Department will distribute milkweed seeds and awareness for the monarchs at Porter County’s Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Porter County Expo Center, 215 E. Division Rd. in Valparaiso.