A cooperative effort between the Elkton Community Education Center and City of Elkton has lead to the town officially being recognized as a Butterfly Village by Monarch City USA.
Elkton Mayor Dan Burke announced the news at the Blooms & Butterflies celebration Saturday in Elkton. He presented the crowd with the Monarch Village signs that will be displayed at the town’s two entrances. He said he hopes that signs will attract tourists and families to move to Elkton.
In order to qualify for membership, the town was required to host an annual festival celebrating butterflies, show commitment to the public education on butterflies and work to add additional butterfly habitats in the community, all over which members of the ECEC were already doing. The last main requirement was for the city to declare its commitment to helping butterflies, which ECEC Executive Director Marjory Hamann said they were more than happy to do.
“We’ve been doing education around monarchs and their habitat for twelve years,” said Hamann, “and so it’s great to have that be more publicly recognized and to be part of a national network.”
Monarch City USA was created in 2015 in Maple Valley, Washington. Its goal is to support and increase the Monarch butterfly population across the country. Barbara Slott, a volunteer butterfly steward at ECEC, came across the organization online about a year ago. After discovering that Brookings was the first Butterfly City in Oregon, she was spurred into action to make Elkton the second. The city is now one of over 20 schools, towns and libraries to become a member of the organization.
Before the dedication, around 75 runners participated in the annual Butterfly 5K run in Elkton, including resident Sadie Olson.
“I’ve been doing it for a couple of years,” said Olson, “but this is the first year that I’ve kind of seriously trained for it.”
Olson planned to use the race to get in shape for her upcoming basketball camp; she is on Elkton High School’s girls varsity basketball team.
The race ran along the Umpqua River on the ECEC property. The winners for the race were as follows: Elana Russell of Elkton for women over 40, Cory Gant of Eugene for men over 40, Michel Bartlett of Camas Valley for women under 40 and Justin Banks of Eugene for men under 40.
“I was surprised I won, I really wasn’t expecting it,” Bartlett said. “Honestly, it was really hard because I just got back from a week at a Christian training camp, so I haven’t ran all week.”
Olson finished at 27 minutes, 38 seconds, a new personal record for her.
“My goal was to run in under 30 minutes, so I beat my goal,” said Olson. “So I feel very happy.”