People in Columbia Heights, once used to see fields covered in orange as monarch butterflies migrated across Minnesota on their way from Canada to Mexico . But over the past two decades, the Eastern monarch population has dropped 80%. When Amáda Márquez Simula became mayor in 2021, she became one of more than 600 city leaders to sign the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge. She has held a bilingual Monarch Festival, led book club discussions about monarch-related books, participated in butterfly painting classes with seniors, and worked with school children, churches and community groups. The city planted a demonstration garden of monarch-friendly plants, discouraged lawn mowing in May and gave milkweed seeds to interested residents. Protecting the butterflies means working “with people who speak Spanish, and with another government, another country, another place, and we all have to work together,” she says. “There’s no borders for butterflies.”

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