WASHINGTON, March 31, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and Monsanto Company announced today a commitment to partner in support of NFWF's Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund. As the first company to contribute to NFWF's Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, Monsanto will provide $3.6 million over three years to match funds provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies that will support habitat restoration, education, outreach and milkweed seed production to benefit monarch butterflies.
Monarch butterflies are found throughout the United States, though a majority of the population migrates up to 3,000 miles to Mexico for the winter months. Over the past 20 years, the North American monarch population has plunged from 1 billion to less than 60 million, due to many factors, including loss of critical habitat. These beautiful, black-and-orange insects depend not only on nectar-producing plants throughout their range, but also milkweed — the only food source for monarch caterpillars.
In 2015, NFWF established the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund to protect, conserve and increase habitat for these iconic insects and other pollinators. The fund was designed to leverage the investments made by federal agencies with additional funding from other private and public donors, as well as matching resources from grantees.
"Through its investment in the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, Monsanto will provide resources that will enable tens of thousands of Americans to participate in efforts to preserve this amazing species for generations to come," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and chief executive officer of NFWF. "Our congressional charter directs us to build partnerships between the public and private sectors in order to increase funding available for on-the-ground conservation efforts. This partnership between Monsanto and NFWF continues our work of bringing all parties to the table to support vital wildlife conservation efforts."
Monsanto's support of the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund is part of the company's ongoing commitment to work with others to support important biodiversity initiatives.
"As the number of people on our planet increases, agriculture is working to sustainably grow more and more food," said Brett Begemann, president and chief operating officer of Monsanto. "Because of the important role agriculture plays in the environment, Monsanto is committed to working with others to protect natural habitats and species that share our planet. Our work with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in this area represents another important step in that commitment."
"Saving the monarch butterfly requires us to work together with public and private partners at a continental scale," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "This contribution to the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund will help us address threats to the monarch and its habitat, while enabling us to get Americans everywhere involved in creating and sustaining backyard habitat for the monarch and other vital pollinator species."
The Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund focuses on three priority conservation needs to restore monarch butterflies to a more robust and healthy population:
- Habitat restoration to plant native milkweed for caterpillars and nectar plants for adults in both large, contiguous areas as well as in smaller patches, especially in edge habitat along the butterfly's migration route
- Outreach and education in urban and rural communities, with a focus on youth engagement
- Native seed production and distribution to increase production and availability of seeds and plants essential to habitat restoration
- To learn more about the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's work on monarchs, visit www.nfwf.org/monarch.
In addition to its commitment to NFWF's Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, Monsanto will provide approximately $400,000 in grants to other organizations working to protect biodiversity through both immediate and long-term actions.
Beyond those funding commitments, Monsanto also encourages a diverse group of public and private sector stakeholders to fully participate in the Keystone Policy Center Monarch Butterfly Collaborative – an effort to connect the agriculture supply chain with conservationists, farmers, scientists and landscape professionals from across the country to coordinate and scale solutions to the challenges facing monarchs and other pollinators.
To learn more about Monsanto's work to expand, protect and conserve biodiversity and natural resources, please visit http://monsanto.info/sustainability.
To learn more about monarchs, visit http://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation's wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world's biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
CONTACT: Rob Blumenthal, NFWF, (202) 857-0166 Billy Brennan, Monsanto, (314) 694-3665
Source:National Fish and Wildlife Foundation