In honor of National Pollinators Week, June 20 – 26, DuPage Monarch Project invites you to visit some of the monarch waystations in DuPage County.
A waystation provides the things monarchs need for successful breeding, milkweed for egg laying and caterpillar food, nectar plants for adults, and water in a sunny location sheltered from the wind. Insecticides are rarely used in the maintenance of a waystation and invasive plants are removed periodically by hand.
The self-guided tour showcases the ways waystations fit into ornamental and naturalized landscaping. From cottage style gardens to parking lot perimeters and prairies, attractive habitat is being made available to the monarchs who summer in DuPage county.
Downers Grove Public Library 1050 Curtiss St
Common milkweed grows among day lilies in the ornamental beds with nectar plants, an innovative combination of monarch friendly milkweed and garden stalwarts.
Lyman Woods 901 31st St Downers Grove
Lyman Woods offers 150 acres of diverse habitat to explore and enjoy. The most outstanding feature is a 19-acre oak woods that has remained undisturbed since it was purchased by the Lyman family in 1839. Today it serves as one of the few examples of the pre-settlement landscape that dominated the Downers Grove area.
The designated butterfly garden is to the east of the William F Sherman, Jr. Interpretative Center. Common milkweed is present and a grant has been received this year to fund 500 swamp milkweed plants for the small pond west of the Interpretive Center.
The William F Sherman, Jr Interpretative Center is a green building with many energy and water saving features.
Wilder Park Conservatory 225 S. Prospect Elmhurst
The butterfly garden is found south of the greenhouse and offers one of the few waystations with tropical milkweed. The ornamental gardens on the grounds contain numerous nectar plants, both annuals and perennials. Added interest for your visit is the Conservatory with its collection of tropical plants.
Great Western Prairie North of the Prairie Path between Spring Road and Salt Creek Elmhurst
You can ride your bike on the Illinois Prairie Path to this waystation. As a prairie there are few amenities on-site so take water and insect repellant though there are local businesses and restaurants nearby for a snack, meal or shopping. Be aware of blackbirds if it’s the nesting season as they are territorial and will dive bomb to make you move on.
The nectar plants are traditional prairie plants. In late May, there was a combination of blue spiderwort and white foxglove beardtongue. There are large patches of common milkweed.
If you walk along the path on the north side of the prairie, you will encounter a “bee hotel” for non-colony forming native bees.
A visit to the Great Western Prairie provides an opportunity to distinguish between dogbane and milkweed, as both can be found growing there. They have a similar appearance and both have a milky white, toxic sap.
Eldritch Park 363 W Commonweath Lane Elmhurst
Eldritch Park provides an excellent example of how recreation and natural areas can co-exist in a municipal park setting. Naturalized areas with milkweed and nectar plants provide borders between soccer fields, a sledding hill and playground. There is even room for a bee hotel.
Glen Ellyn Public Library 400 Duane St Glen Ellyn
Waystation is located between the parking lot and Prairie Path
Drifts of white daisies offer early summer nectaring opportunities for returning monarchs. Common milkweed is scattered throughout the ornamental planting covering the hillside, spilling over into the path.
Glen Ellyn Crescent Blvd between Main and Glenwood Bordering Parking Lot
Identified by the Park District and Village’s “We Support Pollinators” sign, the native planting hosts common and swamp milkweed, blue false indigo, heuchera and many summer blooming prairie plants.
Willowbrook Wildlife Center 525 S Park Blvd Glen Ellyn
A donation of $1.00 is requested for visitors. The Center is open to the public and offers educational displays, animals that are permanent residents and walking trails. This site highlights three distinct areas of monarch habitat, a cottage style garden with a variety of nectar plants, more formal landscaping around the animal rehab building with whorled, butterfly weed and Sullivant’s milkweed mixed with sedges and prairie grass and naturalized areas with common milkweed along the trails. This is one of the few waystations on the tour with whorled milkweed.
Oak Brook Public Library 600 Oak Brook Road Oak Brook
The monarch butterfly garden is on the south side of the building, around to the right of the front entrance. Designed by Art and Linda’s Wildflowers, the garden hosts swamp milkweed and butterfly weed, with common emerging in various landscaped areas around the library. Not typically listed as a nectar plant, the garden includes blue eyed grass which was blooming in May.
First United Methodist Church 643 E. Washington West Chicago
Designed by Art and Linda’s Wildflowers, this garden located at the entrance to the church offers an attractive selection of native plants including a butterfly water feature, an important element of a successful waystation.
The garden functions as green infrastructure for storm water. Two downspouts are directed into an underground receptacle that when filled, water bubbles back to the surface, out and over a rock stream bed.
Cantigny Park 1S151 Winfield Rd Wheaton
Parking fee is $5 on weekdays, $10 on weekends during the summer. The park offers several kid friendly attractions, tanks from WWI and WWII, a military museum and splash fountain. The fountain rules specify no bathing suits, no towels, and no admittance to buildings with wet clothes. A restaurant and café are available for adding a snack or meal to your visit
Several gardens provide nectar plants and a prairie area supplies common milkweed as the larval host plant. Head for the Idea Garden where the Monarch Waystation sign is displayed and visit the adjacent prairie where dragonflies and butterflies can be seen feeding.
Illinois Institute of Technology Rice Campus 201 East Loop Road Wheaton
Prairie landscaping at IIT provides habitat while reducing maintenance costs, eliminating emissions from mowers, managing storm water and creating a quiet, bucolic setting. The areas surrounding the building are well maintained lawn with traditional landscaping. On the far side of the parking lots is a generous sized prairie growing milkweed and nectar plants. Blooms in early June were spiderwort and foxglove beard tongue with a diverse suite of plants in line for summer and fall flowering.