NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — The Town of Normal has committed to preserving and restoring natural prairie habitats for the monarch butterfly.

Recently, Normal Mayor Chris Koos signed his annual ‘mayor’s monarch’ pledge in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation.

This year, as part of the pledge, the town added educational signs at Underwood Park about monarch butterflies at the park’s prairie reserve area.

Tyler Bain, Normal’s parks supervisor and town arborist, said butterflies and other pollinators play an important role in nature and their goal is to bring as many monarchs back to Illinois and Normal as possible.

Bain said they plan on taking other un-mowed areas of other parks and turning them into similar sanctuaries.

“It’s a time saver for us to be honest; we do a lot of mowing and we do a lot of different things, so it just helps us create a different space that people can come off the trail and have some fun looking at some butterflies and pollinators,” Bain said.

Monarch butterflies were recently classified as an endangered species.

Bain said the prairie habitats consist of milkweed plants, which are monarchs’ favorite plants. He said they land, hatch and even feed off the plants.

The educational signs provide park visitors with information about the characteristics and colors of the monarch butterfly, the egg-to-butterfly process and their habitat and diet.