The National Wildlife Federation

Community Profile

Pledge Status

Active

Pledge Date

Friday, December 15, 2023

Program Year

2024

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Action Item Report

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Elm Grove

Elm Grove, WI

Jim Koleski

Village president

Pledge Summary

Elm Grove is a village of just 3.29 square miles (6,524 in population) that was incorporated in 1955. The community was named America’s best suburb by Business Insider in 2014 and proudly became the first community in the state of Wisconsin to achieve the National Wildlife Federation’s Community Habitat designation on 1/27/23. The community takes pride in its Tree City USA, Bird City Wisconsin High Flyer, and Bee City USA designations. Our small community has 8 certified Monarch Waystations via the Monarch Watch, one of which is at our 79 acre village park, which was named in Rob Bignell’s book, Wisconsin’s Best Wildflower Hikes. Our community has been dedicated to increasing awareness about the plight of the monarch butterfly through ongoing community education and outreach programs including native plant sales, village displays, native plant gardens, book clubs, and monarch activist speakers. Elm Grove is proud to have added the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Leadership Circle to its list of accomplishments and is looking forward their 2024 commitment to strive for even more.

Community Spotlight

Action Items Committed for 2024

Communications and Convening

  • Issue a proclamation to raise awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly and the species’ need for habitat. This proclamation must incorporate a focus on monarch conservation.
  • Create a community art project to enhance and promote monarch and pollinator conservation as well as cultural awareness and recognition.
  • Engage with developers, planners, landscape architects, and other community leaders and organizers engaged in planning processes to identify opportunities to create monarch habitat.
  • Engage with Homeowners Associations (HOAs), Community Associations or neighborhood organizations to identify opportunities to plant monarch gardens and revise maintenance and mowing programs.
  • Engage with gardening leaders and partners (e.g., Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, Nature Centers, Native Plant Society Chapters , other long-standing and influential community leaders) to support monarch butterfly conservation.
  • Engage with city parks and recreation, public works, sustainability, and other relevant staff to identify opportunities to revise and maintain mowing programs and milkweed / native nectar plant planting programs.
  • Engage with community garden groups and urge them to plant native milkweeds and nectar-producing plants.
  • Launch or maintain a public communication effort to encourage residents to plant monarch gardens at their homes or in their neighborhoods. (If you have community members who speak a language other than English, we encourage you to also communicate in that language; Champion Pledges must communicate in that language.)

Program and Demonstration Gardens

  • Display educational signage at monarch gardens and pollinator habitat.
  • Launch, expand, or continue an invasive species removal program that will support the re-establishment of native habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
  • Add or maintain native milkweed and nectar-producing plants in gardens in the community.
  • Initiate or support community science (or citizen science) efforts that help monitor monarch migration and health.
  • Host or support a monarch neighborhood challenge to engage neighborhoods and homeowners' associations within the community to increase awareness, support community unity around a common mission, and/or create habitat for the monarch butterfly.
  • Earn or maintain recognition for being a wildlife-friendly city by participating in other wildlife and habitat conservation efforts (i.e., National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat program).
  • Launch or maintain an outdoor education program(s) (e.g., at schools, after-school programs, community centers and groups) that builds awareness and creates habitat by engaging students, educators, and the community in planting native milkweed and pollinator-friendly native nectar plants (i.e., National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitats program and Monarch Mission curriculum).
  • Plant milkweed and pollinator-friendly native nectar plants along roadsides, medians, or public rights-of-way.
  • Convert vacant lots to monarch habitat.
  • Plant or maintain a monarch and pollinator-friendly demonstration garden at City Hall or another prominent or culturally significant community location.
  • Facilitate or support a milkweed seed collection and propagation effort.
  • Host or support a native seed or plant sale, giveaway or swap.

Systems Change

  • Reduce or eliminate the use of herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals that are harmful to monarchs and pollinators and urban wildlife.
  • Integrate monarch butterfly conservation into the city’s Park Master Plan, Sustainability Plan, Climate Resiliency Plan or other city plans.
  • Launch, expand, or continue an effort to change municipal planting ordinances and practices to include more native milkweed and native nectar producing plants at city properties.
  • Increase the percentage of native plants, shrubs and trees that must be used in city landscaping ordinances and encourage use of milkweed, where appropriate.
  • Change weed or mowing ordinances to allow for native prairie and plant habitats.
  • Remove milkweed from the list of noxious plants in city weed / landscaping ordinances (if applicable).
  • Launch, expand, or continue one or more ordinances to reduce light pollution to benefit urban wildlife.