Did you know that June 21-27 is National Pollinator Week in the town of Morrisville? Thanks to some local students, Morrisville’s Mayor TJ Cawley, made the recent proclamation after signing the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge. Each year, 3rd grade students from Pine Springs Preparatory Academy (PSPA) in Holly Springs embark on a letter writing campaign targeting local mayors and asking them to sign the pledge. They have had great success. In 2018, Holly Springs’ mayor Dick Sears, was the first Wake County mayor to sign the pledge, followed by Cary in 2019. In 2020, the town of Apex’s Jacques Gilbert signed, and this spring (2021) Mayor TJ Cawley of Morrisville signed the pledge as well.
What is the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge you might ask…? It is an international program created by the National Wildlife Federation, between Mexico, Canada and the US that aims to create and strengthen habitat for the migrating monarch butterfly. Once a mayor or town has signed the pledge, they choose three action items from a list of 25 to implement. To see the entire list of actions, click here. To be part of the Leadership Circle, mayors choose eight action items to complete (Mayor Gilbert of Apex chose this distinction). The pledge is a great way to raise awareness within local communities, while creating change that benefits not just monarchs, but all pollinators.
These local students from PSPA are led by Katie Thompson, a long-time member of our South Wake Conservationists chapter. She teaches Global Education to students in kindergarten through 5th grade, and her 3rd-grade students spend a great deal of time learning about pollinators. At the end of their unit, the children are well aware of the perils pollinators face in our world today. They understand that we need to act now to help with the critical issue of plummeting numbers of all pollinators. They know that increasing habitat is something we can all do, but reaching out to local mayors casts a much wider net and creates public awareness. Katie has a goal of having all Wake County mayors sign the pledge. So far four towns have signed – Holly Springs, Cary, Apex, and Morrisville, with eight more to go.
This is such a great lesson for children – to know they can create change and make a difference in the world around them. If you give kids the knowledge, they start to care. When kids care, then they want to act. Kids absolutely can change the world. We just need to give them the tools to do so.Katie Thompson