Warrenville Park District became the first municipal entity to pledge support to the DuPage Monarch Project when the board passed a Monarch Resolution on March 17th. DuPage Monarch Project, a partnership of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage, Sierra Club River Prairie Group, The Conservation Foundation and Wild Ones Greater DuPage Chapter was formed in 2015 to work locally on behalf of the imperiled monarch butterfly.
“Working with the Warrenville Park District is a natural fit for the DuPage Monarch Project,” said Connie Schmidt, Chair of Sierra Club’s River Prairie Group. “It was rewarding to see Executive Director Diane Dillow’s enthusiasm when asked to sign on to this county-wide effort. They are even offering a class for residents on how to install and register their own monarch friendly habitats.”
Sustainability is woven throughout Warrenville Park District’s everyday operation, from energy efficient lighting in the gym to ongoing recycling collections and now it is being extended to visiting monarch butterflies.
Sustainability for monarchs means more milkweed, the plant where eggs are laid and caterpillars feed until they pupate, the transition phase for becoming a butterfly. Monarch caterpillars are specialists and eat only one food, milkweed leaves. Loss of milkweed has resulted in declining monarch populations and restoring the population to a safe level requires replacing the milkweed lost to development and agricultural practices.
The Park District will be inventorying parks and open lands to identify existing monarch habitat and locate areas where new habitat can be established. The Park District also plans on creating a monarch waystation, which meets the criteria established by Monarch Watch, a nationally recognized organization dedicated to monarch recovery.
Warrenville residents are encouraged to participate in the recovery effort by learning more about what monarchs need and planting and certifying waystation gardens at their homes.