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December 2016

Naperville Park Board Passes Resolution to Enhance Monarch Habitat

At their December 13, 2016 meeting, the Naperville Park District Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to “enhance and expand available habitat for Monarch butterflies and other native pollinators.”

The idea for a resolution came from a local advocacy group, the DuPage Monarch Project, whose members approached the Park District in October 2016 with a request to further enhance Monarch butterfly habitat already present in the District’s parks and to increase awareness of the Monarch’s plight.

The resolution explains that the Monarch butterfly population has declined 90% in the past two decades, partly due to the loss of milkweed plants, which are the only plants on which Monarchs lay their eggs and are the caterpillar’s only food source.

“DuPage Monarch Project is pleased Naperville Park District has joined Warrenville Park District, Fox Valley Park District, City of Warrenville, City of Elmhurst and the Village of Carol Stream in pledging to take action on behalf of Monarchs,” explained Lonnie Morris, Coordinator of the DuPage Monarch Project. “DuPage County is strategically located in the central flyway used by the Monarchs for their migrating journeys and is in a position to make a contribution to their recovery. With the leaders’ commitment and the generous number of acres available in the parks, the Park District will have many opportunities to make an impact for Monarchs.”

One of the Naperville Park District’s core values is environmental education, stewardship and sustainability. “The Monarch butterfly resolution is consistent with the Park District’s ongoing initiatives to maintain milkweed and other native pollinator plants in our parks, “said Director of Recreation Brad Wilson. “The Park District also offers nature based classes, educational information on its website and interpretive signs at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots, Knoch Knolls Nature Center, and throughout the District, explaining the benefits of native plants.”

Native plants bloom around Knoch Knolls Nature Center, the Park District’s center for environmental education. (Photo by Naperville Park District)napervilleparkdistrict

Going forward, the resolution authorizes Park District staff to take the following actions:
• Increase plantings of milkweed and other native pollinator plants on Park District lands
• Install signs near Monarch-friendly plantings to increase public awareness
• Provide education on how to design a Monarch way station
• Refrain from using pesticides and herbicides in areas with milkweed during Monarch butterfly breeding periods
• Refrain from using insecticides in milkweed areas at all times

Emily Hansen and Kathleen McTighe are Naperville residents involved in the Monarch Project who were part of the group that presented their concerns to the Park Board.

“I joined this project because I’m worried about the decline of Monarch butterflies and want to support them by providing suitable habitat, especially since milkweed is so important to their survival,” said Emily Hansen. “To me, the presence and health of Monarch butterflies, bees, and other pollinators are signs of a healthy environment. When pollinators are flying around plants, searching for nectar, and moving pollen it shows a system that works.”

Hansen, McTighe and Morris were thrilled that the Park Board adopted the Monarch resolution.
“The Naperville Park District continues to impress me by leading as a steward and upholding its values of community and sustainability,” said Hansen. “The steps the District is taking will help ensure that future generations can enjoy nature and the wonder of a Monarch butterfly,” added McTighe.

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City of Warrenville Passes Monarch Resolution

“A monarch butterfly is not ‘just an insect’ to me” said Warrenville resident Therese Davis, “nor is it to anyone, if you stop and think about it. Monarch butterflies represent life in transition. An egg hatches, a caterpillar grows, a chrysalis is made, a butterfly emerges.  It is nothing short of pure magic!”

“I see the looks on my granddaughters’ faces and know they can see in a monarch butterfly wonderment and joy beyond words or comprehension,” she added. “Their beauty speaks to our hearts and touches our soul.”

Davis, you might say, is “all in” when it comes to monarch preservation. So she was incredibly delighted when on Oct. 3 the City Council of Warrenville pledged its support to the DuPage Monarch Project, vowing to create habitat for the tiny creatures and use its influence to educate residents on the importance of monarch friendly plantings and limiting pesticide use.

butterflygardenwithcurbappeal

Therese Davis’ garden provides monarch habitat and was recognized in 2016  as having curb appeal by Warrenville in Bloom, a local beautification organization.

“The City of Warrenville is proud to help support the preservation of the monarch butterfly,” said Warrenville Mayor David Brummel.  “Our Environmental Advisory Commission is committed to spreading the word on the importance and benefit of planting native gardens that contain host plants for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.”

In this resolution the City of Warrenville followed the Warrenville Park District which took the honor of being the first municipal entity anywhere in DuPage County to pledge its support to DuPage Monarch Project when its board passed a monarch resolution on March 17. To date, Warrenville is the only place in DuPage where both the city government and park district have pledged support to the monarch butterfly.

“Municipalities and park districts are in a position to play a critical role in protecting monarch butterflies,” said Lonnie Morris, DMP coordinator. “Loss of habitat is a major component of recent monarch population declines. The monarch population reached a low in 2013 of only 10 percent of its historic population. Land owned by park districts is often suitable for both natural habitat and recreation. Mayors and municipal leaders that sign resolutions make their communities monarch friendly through educational outreach, leading by example on pesticide usage and managing public lands for pollinators.”

The DMP is a partnership of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage, Sierra Club River Prairie Group, The Conservation Foundation and Wild Ones Greater DuPage Chapter formed in 2015. DuPage County, being on the fly route of the iconic butterfly’s 3,000-mile migration from Canada to Mexico is in a position to help. Monarchs need milkweed to survive, as it is the only plant the caterpillars eat. Milkweed has been all but eradicated from farmland and country roadsides due to pesticides. Nectar plants are essential as well as food for the long journey.

“Monarch’s were a delight of my childhood,” said Connie Schmidt, Warrenville resident and chair of the Sierra Club River Prairie Group. Schmidt initiated the signing of both resolutions by calling the first meetings with the park district and Warrenville Environmental Advisory Commission to discuss monarchs. She added, “As a child, I took monarchs for granted. I assumed they would always be there. I am proud that my town is so forward thinking doing its part to maintain the survival of this marvelous butterfly.”

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