dupage monarch project: communities protecting pollinators


November 2019

DuPage Monarch Project Recognizes West Chicago for Monarch Friendliness

The City of West Chicago has shown an outstanding commitment to monarch conservation and will be recognized by the DuPage Monarch Project at a city council meeting on December 2nd.

After Mayor Pineda signed the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge in 2017, the city swung into action to help monarchs by providing habitat and educating the community about the monarchs declining population.

Waystation Dedication
Mayor Pineda at the dedication of the newly planted monarch waystation.

“West Chicago has taken an innovative approach to monarch conservation by linking the migrating butterfly to the community’s identity through art, history and culture,” said Lonnie Morris, DuPage Monarch Project Coordinator. “The City has also made the butterfly unforgettable.”

The summer the monarch pledge was signed, a high profile monarch garden was planted at City Hall. The following year the garden provided a colorful display for visitors and attracted adult monarchs, with caterpillars observed feeding on milkweed plants.

City Hall Waystation Garden
Monarch garden at city hall

West Chicago declared 2019 the Year of the Butterfly. With the support of the arts community and Gallery 200, 36 artist-designed butterflies were installed in public gardens throughout the city. The public art project, aptly named The Butterfly Effect from a chaos theory principle where a small change can make a huge difference, has sent ripples of awareness through out the community.

City staff worked with Gallery 200 and West Chicago High School to host showings of The Guardians, a documentary about the challenges local people face in protecting the monarchs’ overwintering habitat in Mexico from illegal logging and agricultural incursions.

Connie Schmidt, Illinois Sierra Club Chair will speak on behalf of DuPage Monarch Project at West Chicago’s December 2nd council meeting.

DuPage Monarch Project is a partnership of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage, River Prairie Group of Sierra Club, The Conservation Foundation and Wild Ones Greater DuPage Chapter.

Pollinators are Welcome at Belmont Station

In May of 2018, the Village of Downers Grove began cultivating a pollinator garden in the open areas near the Belmont underpass. The project was funded in part by a grant from the ComEd Green Region program.

Belmont Pollinator Garden 1

To get things started, the grass inside the turnarounds at Warren Avenue and Belmont Road was replaced with sustainable native plants to attract pollinators like bees, beetles, moths, and hummingbirds. Milkweed was also planted to target Monarch butterflies, building on efforts by surrounding suburbs to develop a “Monarch corridor” along the BNSF railroad.

Belmont Pollinator Garden 2

Thanks to a Pollinator Meadow Mix provided by the Conservation Foundation, new native plants began to emerge in the Spring of 2019. New interpretive signs were added to tell the story of the garden’s soil, root systems, native plants and inhabitants. By late summer, Purple Cone Flowers, Black Eyed Susans, Narrow Leaved Milkweed and many others were in full bloom and the hummingbirds, bees and Monarchs made regular visits.

Belmont Pollinator 3

In September, volunteers from the Pierce Downer Heritage Alliance assisted Village staff in planting additional flowers to attract pollinators, including Butterfly Weed and Prairie Blazing Star. Special thanks to volunteers Mark Bragen and Irene Hogstrom for their assistance.

Belmont Pollinator Garden 4

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