Voting started slowly, but built to a crescendo of more than 400 likes, comments, tweets and clicks on behalf of your favorite Fiesta 2016 butterfly medal.
And the winner is…. SAWS, San Antonio Water System, the city’s public water utility.
Our local water saving warriors and sole suppliers of San Antonio’s H2O took first place in the Texas Butterfly Ranch poll to choose the BEST 2016 butterfly-themed Fiesta medal, garnering 229 of 440 votes cast.
The completely unscientific poll launched last Thursday. Votes were tallied from website and social media clicks, shares and comments.
In addition to hundreds of clicks and shares, the SAWS medal spawned more than 60 online comments. Several voters pointed out that the medal was the only one to include a caterpillar as well as flowers, thus better portraying the entire life cycle and the synergies that bind us.
“When I see the (SAWS) medal it makes me think of change, strength, and rebirth,” wrote Rachel Garza Carreon, who voted for the winner. “The caterpillar has to hope that as it changes into a butterfly it will work. There is always a danger of outside predators, etc. It is a journey we can all relate to. Change is scary, but you can come through it stronger than ever.”
That holistic reaction was exactly the desired effect, said Dana Nichols, SAWS Conservation Manager of Outdoor Programs, who helped design the medal. “We thought it was important to get the details right so we included the caterpillar and even the native Antelope horns milkweed,” said Nichols. “As with all of our GardenStyleSA.com information, we wanted our medal to be accurate, relevant, as well as remind us all of what it takes to see Monarchs in our area.”
The San Antonio River Authority, SARA, took second place. SARA’s medal featured a dramatic black ribbon, the Monarch’s orange-and-black color palette, with a butterfly and the SARA logo in the middle.
Voters had strong feelings about this medal, too. It generated dozens of comments like this one from Marilyn Rauch Cavicchia on Facebook: “I love this one so much. Simple and cool–and really makes the Monarch the star of the show.”
SARA spokesman Steven Schauer thanked all those who voted for SARA and congratulated SAWS for taking first place. “The real winner of this fun Fiesta medal competition is the Monarch butterfly and other pollinator species,” said Schauer.
CPS Energy‘s fancy gold Mariposa medal came in third, benefitting the Green Spaces Alliance, and the medal issued by Mayor Ivy Taylor, who is largely responsible for San Antonio’s newfound butterfly fixation, came in fourth.
The recent butterfly fascination can be attributed to raised awareness of pollinator decline, Monarch butterflies in particular. The iconic insects’ unique, captivating Pan American migration faces increasing obstacles as climate change, habitat destruction, abuse of pesticides and genetically modified crops challenge its future.
The bee collapse has also raised awareness of our insect friends’ huge contribution to making one of every three bites of food we eat possible. President Obama’s National Pollinator Strategy, issued in May 2015, has galvanized grass-roots advocacy in the last year, focusing grant monies and other funding to address threats to pollinators.
At the local level, our butterfly-friendly Mayor, who signed the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Mayor’s Monarch Pledge in December, deserves much credit for making San Antonio the first and to date, ONLY Monarch Champion city in the country by agreeing to execute all 24 NWF’s recommended action items to increase pollinator habitat. Ever since, our city has gone a little butterfly crazy. Every department of the City has been tasked with doing something about pollinator decline–thus the crop of butterfly medals. That’s good news in our book.
Despite coming in last place, Mayor Taylor was gracious, congratulating SAWS for winning and the other butterfly medal issuers for promoting Monarch and pollinator awareness.
“Since signing the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge in December, it’s been such a pleasure watching the awareness and love of Monarchs spread,” said Mayor Taylor. “San Antonio is definitely doing its part to protect our state insect.”
Worth noting: butterfly Fiesta medals are not just for government entities. We learned from contest voters that at least two other butterfly medals were issued this year.
Leon Valley issued one with two colorful butterflies dancing above a Fiesta wreath and their tagline “deep roots, big ideas.” The Children’s Bereavement Center also issued a butterfly medal.
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