Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award

The Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award recognizes a US business that has shown exceptional leadership and action in providing habitat and awareness for monarchs along their migratory corridors. The 2024 award will be given in January of 2025.

APPLICATION CLOSED - Applications will be open at the end of 2024. Please submit through the Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award form.

In this Google Form please provide a narrative and supporting documents (photographs, site, plans, outreach plans, etc.) that highlight the unique and inspiring ways in which your business is supporting monarchs and meeting the award criteria. Please attach any supporting photographs or documents in the provided fields.

Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award Winners

2023 Winner - Google

Pollinator Partnership is pleased to present Google with the 2023 Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award. This award recognizes a business that has shown exceptional leadership and action in providing habitat and awareness for monarchs along their migratory corridors. “We are thrilled to feature Google as our 2023 Monarch Sustainer of the Year awardee, “ says Kelly Bills, Executive Director of Pollinator Partnership. “Through its habitat expansion and engagement efforts, Google has demonstrated a meaningful and admirable commitment to pollinator health that we are proud to highlight. The best way to protect the monarch is to create more habitat for the species, and it’s clear that Google understands this dynamic and has taken it to heart.” From 2021 to 2023, Google created roughly 20 acres of new habitat on its California campuses designed to support monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Working with local NGOs, landscape designers, and monarch researchers, Google’s Ecology Program has installed tens of thousands of monarch-friendly plants–including nectar-producing flowering plants and host milkweed plants –creating natural, year-round refuges for both the Google community and pollinators to enjoy.

Google has also prioritized monitoring at its habitat sites. After more than a year of monthly biodiversity monitoring by Google’s science partners to measure monarch activity in Mountain View and Sunnyvale, CA, Google's habitat areas are showing clear signs of success. When comparing habitat project sites with control sites, monarch eggs were –on average– roughly 6 times more likely to appear, and monarch caterpillars were roughly 10 times more likely to occur.

To help build further support for its habitat expansion efforts, Google has been engaging its employees through its Monarch Habitat Challenge. The program provides guidelines for facility managers, maintenance crews, landscape architects, and other parties to create and maintain high-quality monarch habitat at its campuses across California. Google has also taken the opportunity to highlight its habitat work during National Pollinator Week with posts to its widely read company blog, The Keyword. Going forward, Google plans to encourage its employees to create habitat for monarchs and other local pollinators in their own backyards, and has promoted the “Monarch Mile” (a walkable, near-continuous loop of monarch habitat) at its Silicon Valley campus as a place for outdoor meetings and mental recharge.

“Google has long strived to create high-quality habitat on our campuses that supports both wildlife and communities,” says Erin Beller, Ecology Program Manager for Google’s real estate team. “It’s inspiring to see so many monarchs thriving on our campuses as a result of our efforts, and we hope that creating this habitat encourages others to join in protecting this critical and beautiful species.”

Monarch habitat at Google's Mountain View campus

2022 Winner- Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Pollinator Partnership is pleased to present Jordan Vineyard & Winery with the 2022 Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award. This award recognizes a business that has shown exceptional leadership and action in providing habitat and awareness for monarchs along their migratory corridors. “I am amazed by the commitment of Jordan’s ownership and staff in protecting not just monarch butterflies but all pollinators. They show extreme care and consideration in their approach to incorporating conservation into their farming practices. It is not easy work, but it makes a big difference,” says Kelly Bills, Executive Director for Pollinator Partnership. Jordan Vineyard & Winery has a long history of integrating conservation practices with their winemaking practices and has demonstrated the importance and practicality of planting pollinator habitats on working lands. With monarch populations continuing to show signs of decline, Jordan Vineyard & Winery has stepped up to the plate by restoring nearly ten acres of nonnative grassland to native habitat, and planting over 300 milkweed seeds alongside 2,500 pollinator friendly, non-invasive plants from 100 species.

In 2019, Brent Young, Jordan’s Director of Agriculture Operations and the rest of the team partnered with Pollinator Partnership to help promote the annual Pollinator Week during the summer vineyard hikes at Jordan. After completing this initiative, and with much success, Jordan decided to take their pollinator husbandry to the next level. Over the next year, Jordan worked with Pollinator Partnership to create various pollinator sanctuaries across the Jordan Estate. The two organizations selected plants based on a number of factors including the terrain, sun exposure, proximity to watersheds, and which pollinators each habitat would support. While they’ve faced challenges establishing and maintaining the sanctuaries due to weather and the difficulties of the milkweed plant, the Jordan team has continued to refine and improve their practices in efforts to spread awareness about the importance of protecting native pollinators.

“On behalf of the entire Jordan team, we are honored to be the recipients of Pollinator Partnership’s 2022 Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award,” said John Jordan, Chief Executive Officer at Jordan Vineyard & Winery. “As a certified sustainable winery and a Bee Friendly Farming-certified vineyard, protecting the at risk Western Monarch Butterfly, native bees and other pollinators is a critical part of our land stewardship and sustainability efforts. I’m pleased that our dedicated estate and ranch team, led by Brent Young are being recognized for their diligent efforts to create a thriving environment despite many challenges over the last few years; I hope our actions inspire more landowners across the West to do the same.”

An example of Jordan Vineyard & Winery’s exceptional pollinator habitat

2021 Winner - Toyota Motor North America (TMNA)

Pollinator Partnership is pleased to present Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) with the 2021 Monarch Sustainer of the Year award. This award recognizes a business that has shown exceptional leadership and action in providing habitat and awareness for monarchs along their migratory corridors.

“Toyota Motor North America is a true leader in environmental sustainability, and we are thrilled to honor their monarch butterfly conservation efforts. Toyota’s passion for biodiversity is clear and we commend their incredible efforts to enhance habitat, educate employees, and engage local communities about the importance of pollinators,” says Kelly Rourke, Executive Director for Pollinator Partnership.

TMNA partners with experts to help protect species and restore habitats to achieve broader positive conservation results. With monarch populations showing disturbing signs of decline, the company installed over 300 acres of pollinator-friendly gardens and grasslands at 11 locations along their migratory pathway. These habitats of milkweed and nectar plants better the monarch’s chance of survival and reproduction.

“On behalf of Toyota Motor North America leadership and our wonderful staff in our facilities, we are honored to accept this meaningful recognition,” says Environmental Sustainability Outreach & Engagement Manager, Becky Martin. “Toyota is dedicated to supporting biodiversity, including pollinator species, as one of our key focus areas of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050. Our goal is to operate in harmony with nature and build healthy ecosystems so that future generations may continue to enjoy the natural wonders of our world.”

Members of TMNA being honored at a virtual awards ceremony

2020 Winner - Daikin Texas Technology Park

Pollinator Partnership is pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 Monarch Sustainer of the Year award, Daikin North America’s Daikin Texas Technology Park (DTTP), a consolidated manufacturing, engineering, marketing, and sales location for heating and air conditioning products. Daikin is committed to environmental stewardship, holding the LEED Gold certification for its offices and energy management system and championing annual hands-on Earth Day activities that teach local students about the lifecycle and habitats of pollinators. As Daikin became more aware of local biodiversity issues related to the monarch butterfly, it felt compelled to integrate monarch biodiversity into its strategic business plan.

“We are thrilled to honor the dedicated efforts of Daikin at Daikin Texas Technology Park, an exemplary leader in monarch conservation and sustainability. They are truly making a difference for monarchs along an important corridor of their migration route, and doing an excellent job of engaging their community in the process,” says Amber Barnes, Wildlife Conservation Ecologist for Pollinator Partnership.

“On behalf of Daikin leadership and our incredibly hard workers at DTTP, thank you for this meaningful recognition,” says DTTP Environmental Director Satara Henry. “The high level of internal support for our sustainability initiatives is inspiring. Our pollinator gardens are the most recent example of our continued efforts to support and strengthen the environment as we work toward our 2050 goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero.”

In 2020, DTTP supported a local monarch initiative from Houston Wilderness by engaging other local organizations and college students to raise awareness and provide tools for others to act both at work and home. DTTP has also created its own pollinator garden project and enhanced the landscaping along its main gate. This habitat is visible and educational for over 8,000 employees, neighbors and vendor partners. These plantings have included five species of milkweed and nine other nectar sources for pollinators. In total, 250 plants have been planted over four planting events, with more planned for 2021. DTTP has engaged more than 50 employees and community partners – who have volunteered over 500 hours – to make increased biodiversity in the Houston area a reality. DTTP also provides annual financial support to Texas Fish and Wildlife for monarch habitat restoration.

Satara Henry receiving the award on behalf of Daikin Texas Technology Park

2019 Winner - ComEd

ComEd is proud to share their “Monarch Story” and their accomplishments towards supporting the annual monarch migration and breeding within their northern Illinois service territory. They are committed to acting with integrity and accountability as stewards of the environment. ComEd is committed to monarchs on local, corporate, and national scales through six key initiatives:

1. They restore native and remnant prairie habitat in key locations where monarchs and other pollinators can benefit.

2. They have committed to integrated habitat management and spreading at least 1,000,000 milkweed seeds on their transmission ROW.

3. They integrate conservation into their corporate policies and work closely with their sister utilities to foster pollinator initiatives.

4. They celebrate Pollinator Week and engage ComEd staff.

5. They create, fund, and support community pollinator engagement and critical non-profit groups in their community.

6. They are key participants and funders in national groups dedicated to monarch butterfly and pollinator conservation.

ComEd’s corporate policy on Biodiversity and Habitat closely aligns with monarch conservation. ComEd is committed to promoting and enhancing biodiversity through natural resource conservation by protecting species and habitats, while maintaining safe, efficient and effective operations. The policy promotes a corporate culture that empowers employees to explore innovative ways to improve biodiversity in their communities. Fundamentally, it requires land management that enhances habitat for native pollinators by minimizing pesticide use and reducing the spread of invasive species.

The monarch butterfly is the Illinois state insect, and symbolizes tenacity and creativity. They aspire to these values in their conservation work, and are proud that they can make a difference. They believe that through their six initiatives, including habitat restoration, integrated habitat management, corporative initiatives, internal and external outreach, and national participation, that they are sustainers. They are part of a wider community movement to protect the monarch through this generation and for many more.

Monarch Butterfly on Common Milkweed Plant, Orland Park Prairie, Cook County, IL

2018 Winner - Marathon

For years, Marathon has focused on enhancing native wildlife habitat. In the process, Marathon realized the importance of pollinators to the environment, economy, children’s education, and employee morale. Palestine Neal Pit and Pollinator Prairie are two of the main sites where Marathon is conducting monarch enhancing work in Illinois. This Management Plan focuses on the efforts within these two sites along with Marathon’s other achievements in native pollinator advocacy.

Palestine Neal Pit is the oldest of the two sites. In 2006, by successfully developing, implementing, and maintaining wildlife habitat, Palestine Neal Pit became the 12th Marathon facility to become Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) certified. Marathon has continually improved these sites through effective habitat management to benefit native species. One of the main goals of these projects is to provide habitat for all pollinator species (such as bees, butterflies, birds, and bats) with special attention given to the feeding and habitat requirements of the monarch butterfly. Marathon employees, understanding the value of community involvement, have worked diligently to educate the local community (both children and adults) on the importance of monarch butterflies and how to create and enhance pollinator-friendly habitats.

Marathon is committed to environmental protection and emphasizes practical resource conservation and the minimization of wastes, emissions, and releases through their operations. Marathon is dedicated to being a good neighbor in their community and will conduct their operations safely and responsibly as well as consult proactively with stakeholders on issues of mutual interest. Environmental performance indicators are a key part of Marathon’s corporate and operational performance commitments with targets designed to drive continual improvement.

members of Marathon receiving the Monarch Sustainer of the Year Award