August 2, 2022 - TRA Newswire -

CP-KCS joins forces to protect the monarch while UP gets rid of a stinging situation.

It's not the type of rail news that comes across our desk every day but we're more than happy to report it.

Kansas City Southern is joining forces with their new suitor, Canadian Pacific, with global railcar giant GATX, the Monterrey Mexico Rotary Club and NASCO and announcing the launch of the Save the Monarch Butterfly 60,000 Tree CHallenge North American Boxcar Tour. This past week the Monarch Mariposa Boxcar rolled out of the GATX shop in Hearne, Texas and will be on tour to save and reestablish the Monarch butterfly population, which migrates through the lone star state.  The goal is to raise $100,000. . The funds raised will be used to plant 60,000 oyamel trees at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico to help re-establish the monarch population.

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.

Meanwhile, a pesky problem at Union Pacific's Baytown, Texas yard. Bees, and especially their stings, are often frightening to avoid at all costs. So what happens when a swarm of bees makes its home on Union Pacific property? Bee-lieve it or not, the Manager of Yard Operations, Nick Sahinen, comes to the rescue. When the swarm decided that Coady Yard Track 46 in Baytown looked like a good nesting area, Sahinen donned his beekeeper suit and jumped on the opportunity to remove them. 

Sahinen said "“My motivation for taking action was to ensure none of our employees were stung and to save the bees from being exterminated. It turned out to be a win-win situation. The yard manager also used the opportunity to educate his co-workers on the importance of bees in the environment and that bees are pollinators and play a vital role in a healthy ecosystem.

Back on the butterfly beat, those pollinators are also critical to global food security but they are disappearing at an alarming rate, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The organization had red-listed the Monarchs with only a 10 percent chance of existing above the extinction level over the next 30 years. The Monarchs make an incredible 3,000 mile journey that starts this month in the U.S. to winter in Mexico. The butterflies travel during the day and roose at night, closely following the CP and KCS networks, putting the companies in a unique position to help. 

“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 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.  NASCO is a grass roots tri-national coalition of governments, businesses and educational institutions driven by a common interest in collaboration along key freight and commercial trade networks.

Photo credit: KCS