NEW Butterfly City Designation
Fairfield Bay Becomes First ‘Monarch City USA’ in Arkansas
Join Fairfield Bay in celebrating the king of butterflies.
Fairfield Bay has long had a love affair with butterflies, and soon Monarch butterflies will be more apt to find their way to Fairfield Bay on their migration journeys for food – as the city has just become the first in the state to receive the Monarch City USA designation. Fairfield Bay is known for its beautiful parks and public spaces, and butterflies for years have make their home in a special place in Ed Leamon Park, (located in the center of town) where there’s a beautifully landscaped butterfly garden. The garden features milkweed and other nectar plants, attracting many varieties of butterflies.
“We are so delighted to be recognized as the first Monarch USA city in the State of Arkansas,” said Mayor Paul Wellenberger. “We have such wonderful citizens who take care of the special place God has entrusted us to be stewards of. It is a perfect fit for the wonderful nature and wildlife lovers who live in and enjoy life in Fairfield Bay”.
Monarch butterflies are considered by many to be the most beautiful of all butterflies – the “king” of the butterflies; hence the name “monarch”. Monarch cities encourage and plant milkweed and nectar plants within their boundaries to help the monarch population recover. Small Monarch City signs with the iconic orange and black butterfly will soon be posted at several city entrances.
Two Opportunities to get your Butterfly Garden Started
May 2nd – Sterling Scholars Series with Ruth Andre, 11:30am-1pm at the Little Red Bistro at Indian Hills, who will share how to completely convert and area from a weedy non-natives to a productive area for many specifies of Arkansas’ native insects including butterflies. There will also be a classroom demonstration at the Fairfield Bay Education Center from 2-4pm.
May 12th – Bloomin’, Blues and BBQ in the Bay , 9am-4pm
This new initiative will be featured at Fairfield Bay’s Bloomin in the Bay event that is sponsored by the Van Buren County Master Gardeners on May 12th. Also, speaking will be one of Arkansas’ leading experts on butterflies – Ruth Andre. Seeds will be available for purchase. And if you can’t wait, Monarch Butterfly seeds are now available for purchase at the city offices in the Village Mall for just $1 per packet vs the suggested retail price of $2.
Nearly a billion monarch butterflies have vanished since 1990, according to data released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February 2015. They rely on milkweed plants and nectar plants for their food and home. Such plants are decreasing across the country. Milkweed is not a noxious weed. In fact there are lots of attractive flowering plants under the milkweed category. Nobody wants to start spreading weeds. Fairfield Bay hopes to grow plants that are flowering and make the beauty of the Bay shine even brighter. Though we don’t expect swarms of Monarchs landing in Fairfield Bay in this first year of emphasis, we plan to stay the course and encourage milkweed plantings throughout the Bay. As the Monarchs discover the Fairfield Bay food source, we hope to attract large numbers of them as they make their migration journeys north in the Spring and south in the Fall. Come see the lovely butterfly garden and look for exciting Monarch butterfly festivals in the years to come!