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MARKHAM, ON — October 4, 2016 - Monarch butterflies and pollinators now have another new home in Markham. Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Council Members, David Suzuki Foundation and students from St. Patrick's Elementary School officially opened Canada's first municipal milkweed nursery at Milne Dam Conservation Park. The nursery will provide a habitat and vital food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars for years to come.

The Mayor invited the public including local students to see the 800 common milkweed plants that were planted in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation this past May. The nursery will grow seeds to plant more milkweed across the City and be a home to support the monarch butterflies' annual return from Mexico. The milkweed is the only plant that monarch butterfly caterpillars eat from and is a critical plant to support the species' declining population.

"I am proud to report that the creation of this nursery is the first of its kind hosted and supported by a municipality in Canada," said Mayor Frank Scarpitti. "The City of Markham is creating habitat space and vital food source for monarch butterflies and other important pollinators to help them thrive."

"Monarch butterflies need our help now more than ever, and the City of Markham is leading the way," said Jode Roberts, Manager of the David Suzuki Foundation's Got Milkweed and Homegrown National Park projects. "In addition to establishing the milkweed nursery, Markham's commitment to create more space for pollinators has brought the city to the forefront of one of the most exciting conservation efforts in North America."
The milkweed nursery furthers the City's commitment to provide spaces for pollinators like monarchs. Butterflies, together with bees, birds, beetles, and other pollinating animals help to support up to 75 per cent of world's food crops. As pollinator and butterfly populations decrease, so does the production of much of our food.

The opening of the milkweed nursery is part of a series of actions, endorsed by Markham Council when the City declared itself as Canada's first monarch-friendly city. Since the declaration in April 2016, the City has established one of two pollinator-friendly spaces, held workshops under the Markham Homegrown program and distributed milkweed seeds at a number of community events across the City. Markham will continue to create more naturalized spaces in parks, community centres and areas suitable for pollinators, as well as engaging residents by encouraging them to plant milkweed seeds this fall.

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Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: fscarpitti@markham.ca or 905-475-4872
Media inquiries / interview requests: Dennis Flaherty, 905-415-7520 or dflaherty@markham.ca
David Suzuki Foundation media inquiries: Jode Roberts, 647-456-9752 or jroberts@davidsuzuki.org

About Markham: Markham, a municipality with 350,000 residents centrally located in the Greater Toronto area, is home to over 400 corporate head offices and more than 1,100 high tech and life science companies. Founded in the 1790s, today Markham is Canada's most diverse community, enjoys a rich heritage, outstanding community planning and services, and a vibrant local economy. Markham has received the Excellence Canada Gold Award for Organizational Quality & Healthy Workplace, and multiple heritage and environmental awards.

About David Suzuki Foundation: David Suzuki Foundation is a Canadian non-profit environmental organization dedicated to finding solutions through science-based research, public engagement and policy work.

October 5, 2016
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2016/10/markham-opens-canadas-1st-municipal-milkweed-nursery/