SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Drivers in Illinois may see more of the state’s insect both fluttering off the road and painted on license plates.

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced Thursday the launch of the Monarch Butterfly Universal Specialty License Plate, creating a license plate for charity to help preserve their habitat in the state.

Legislation creating the plate was passed in 2016. By 2018, 2,000 residents pre-ordered the plate for $10, the minimum state law requires to create the Universal Specialty Plate. But the state did not issue the plates for charity for five years.

“This is an important issue, not just because it will positively impact the environment and preserve the Monarch’s cultural significance, but also because it finally makes good on a long-awaited promise,” Giannoulias said.

The deposit fee of $10 and $23 of the license plate renewal fee goes towards the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Roadside Monarch Habitat Fund. The fund’s goal is to plant 150 million stems of milkweed across the state’s landscapes in the next 15 years.

“The creation of this special license plate is just one of many ways IDNR is committed to Monarch conservation,” IDNR Director Natalie Phelps Finnie said. “Our staff is engaged with other organizations, state agencies, and the general public to build capacity for putting milkweed and other native plants on the landscape to assist not only monarchs, but all of our native pollinators.”

The monarch butterfly is listed as “threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Illinoisans can order the new plate on the Secretary of State’s website, or by calling (217) 785-0005.