On October 1, during the Monarch Festival at New Jersey Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May, Zachary Mullock, Mayor of Cape May, and Eric Westram, Mayor of Rosemère, signed a sister city agreement. In so doing, the two communities officially confirmed their intention to work together to protect the monarch butterfly. To mark the occasion, Cape May and Rosemère traded flags, and a commemorative certificate was issued.
The purpose of this agreement is to:
- - Strengthen the ties between Rosemère and Cape May in order to preserve monarch butterflies and their habitats.
- - Publicize the need to protect the butterflies’ breeding grounds and ensure the availability of plants essential to these environments.
- - Foster knowledge sharing between the two communities.
- - Join forces to have a significant impact on monarch populations and habitats, which are also vital to other pollinators.
- - Document the outcomes of these joint efforts on monarch migratory patterns.
- - Raise public awareness in both places and encourage residents to help collect data about the numbers and locations of monarch butterflies and milkweed plants.
This sister city arrangement has been beneficial in learning more about monarch populations, which are declining steadily due to the widespread loss of milkweed, which plays a critical role in monarch reproduction and survival.
A meeting with the team of scientists from Cellular Tracking Technology was also on the agenda. In 2006, CTT developed a mobile app that can be used to monitor monarchs along their migration route, using data from butterflies that have been captured, tagged and released. Rosemère representatives were invited to help tag monarchs during their visit.
The foundations for this sister city agreement between Rosemère and Cape May were laid in the spring of 2023. As someone familiar with both, resident Nicolle Dufour reached out to Rosemère officials to draw attention to the fact that the communities have several things in common. Both boast a waterfront location and magnificent wetlands. Both take great pride in their architectural heritage and their warm and inviting atmosphere. And both are deeply committed to environmental stewardship. She therefore put forward the idea of twinning the two.
Rosemère has been actively involved in initiatives to help save the monarch since 2018. Raising public awareness about the plight of these universally beloved butterflies is central to these efforts. In recognition of Rosemère’s achievements in this area, the Town has been certified as a monarch-friendly community by the David Suzuki Foundation, the mission of which is to safeguard the diversity of nature and quality of human life, now and for the future. The Town was awarded Silver certification status in 2022 for attaining 17 of the Foundation’s criteria. The goal is to meet all 24 criteria by 2025.
"We hope that this agreement between the two communities inspires other municipal administrations to do their part to protect this regal creature, which is on the verge of being classified as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act", said Mayor Eric Westram.