KCS, CP, GATX, Local Rotary Clubs and NASCO Launch 60,000 Tree Challenge North American Boxcar Tour to Help Save the Monarch Butterfly
August 02, 2022 at 08:30 AM EDT
Kansas City Southern (KCS), Canadian Pacific (TSX: CP) (NYSE: CP), GATX (NYSE: GATX), Monterrey Metropolitan Rotary Club (Rotary) and NASCO today announced the launch of the Save the Monarch Butterfly 60,000 Tree Challenge North American Boxcar Tour to raise $100,000 USD. The funds raised will be used to plant 60,000 oyamel trees at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico to help reestablish the monarch population. This past week, the Monarch Mariposa Boxcar rolled out of the GATX shop in Hearne, Texas.
Monarch butterflies are among the most recognizable butterfly species in North America. In addition to being an international symbol of the environment, monarch butterflies contribute to the health of the planet. Pollinators are critical to global food security and healthy natural ecosystems, but they’re disappearing at an alarming rate. Beloved across its trinational North American range, the iconic monarch has only a 10 percent chance of persisting above the extinction threshold over the next 30 years. The time is now to protect monarchs and their incredible 3,000-mile migration.
Last month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature red-listed the migratory monarch as endangered, placing it just two steps from extinction. While this listing is not the same as a listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, it is another loud call to action that an all-hands-on-deck approach for monarch and pollinator conservation is needed.
In support of the 60,000 Tree Challenge, a crowd-funding QR code is featured on the side of the boxcar. Starting this fall, the boxcar will stop at events in Windsor, Ont.; Chicago; Kansas City, Mo.; Laredo, Texas; Nuevo Laredo, Tamps.; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon; San Luis Potosi, S.L.P.; Morelia, Michoacán; and end at the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. In coordination with local Rotary clubs, these events will generate awareness and raise funds to help save the butterfly. This innovative environmental project is an example of the commitment of the sponsoring organizations to sustainability.
Monarchs appear to use a combination of air currents, the magnetic pull of the earth and the position of the sun, among other guides, to find their way south to Michoacán, Mexico for the winter and to the United States and Canada for the summer. Monarchs only travel during the day and need to find a roost at night, where they gather at waystations to rest, refuel, breed, and lay eggs along the way. Many of these locations are used year after year.
Although the oyamel forests in Mexico are recognized as important to monarch butterflies, deforestation and climate change over decades have fragmented the habitat. The disappearance of the oyamel forest affects the monarch butterfly and the local communities that rely on the forest for their livelihoods, water, healthy soil and erosion control.
The monarch butterfly represents North American unity. Its migration path closely follows the CP and KCS networks, putting the two companies in a unique position to help. In December 2021, KCS was acquired by CP in a $31 billion transaction. Immediately following the acquisition, KCS was placed in trust and will continue to operate independently pending merger approval by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB). If the two railroads receive STB approval, they will be combined, forming the first truly North American railroad, which will be called Canadian Pacific Kansas City.
“KCS is proud to work in partnership with CP, GATX, Rotary and NASCO to drive the 60,000 Tree Challenge,” said KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “In addition, we are installing waystations throughout our U.S.-Mexico network in support of monarch conservation.”
“The CP and KCS networks align with the Monarch’s annual migration route, providing us with a unique opportunity to help protect and restore critical habitat,” said CP President and CEO Keith Creel. “CP is very happy to join with KCS, GATX, Rotary and NASCO to support and promote the recovery of the monarch butterfly.”
“As the largest global railcar lessor and one of the largest boxcar owners in North America, GATX was thrilled to help produce a custom designed boxcar to celebrate and raise awareness of the journey of the monarch butterfly in addition to making a financial contribution to support the 60,000 Tree Challenge," said Robert C. Lyons, President and CEO of GATX. “We are proud to join forces on this innovative environmental initiative.”
“Rotarians throughout North America are honored to join forces with CP, KCS, GATX and NASCO to regenerate vital pollinator habitat from Windsor to Michoacán. The biological corridor of the monarch butterfly has been fragmented by global warming, deforestation, urbanization and excessive pesticide use. At each stop of the GATX boxcar, local Rotarians will sign a pollinator pledge highlighting actions that will be implemented to protect monarch and other pollinators throughout North America,” said Alex Rechy, President of the Monterrey Metropolitan Rotary club.
Rotarian Chris Stein, who manages the Operation Pollination environmental framework, said, “If managed with pollinators in mind, privately owned green spaces throughout North America can be important nectar feeding areas and migration corridors for pollinators. Any company that embraces the philosophy that making money and protecting the environment can go hand-in-hand, understands that we must work together now to be able to leave a healthy planet for our children. The vision behind this creative Monarch Butterfly 60,000 Tree Challenge tour epitomizes how business and the environment can work together for a better planet.”
“NASCO is proud and honored to be part of this international effort to save the iconic symbol of North America – the monarch butterfly. We have educated and engaged our continental network to support local events and fundraising efforts and to plant Monarch habitats along their North American migration routes. We commend KCS, CP, GATX and Rotary for leading this effort – the Monarch Butterfly Challenge is vitally important to our North American region,” said Tiffany Melvin, President of NASCO.
About Operation Pollination
• KCS – Doniele Carlson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 816-983-1372