dupage monarch project: communities protecting pollinators


January 2021

Fox Valley and Naperville Park Districts Recognized for Outstanding Pollinator Protection Projects

The DuPage Monarch Project recognized the Fox Valley and Naperville Park Districts for their outstanding commitments to the recovery of monarchs and pollinations at a virtual awards ceremony on January 19th. While many things came to a standstill during the corona virus pandemic, the Fox Valley and Naperville Park Districts continued on with their mission of providing islands of nature where both people and pollinators find safe refuge from the challenges they’re facing.

Fox Valley Park District is the recipient of the Jane Foulser Habitat Award for the addition of over 19 acres of habitat during the past year.  The District has been developing additional pollinator habitat within the 548 acres classified and managed as natural areas since 2016 when they joined the DuPage Monarch Project.   As the evidence of pollinator decline grows and the critical role they play in ecological and human health becomes clear, Fox Valley Park District is to be commended for steadily increasing the amount and quality of suitable habitat available to bees, butterflies and the many species of pollinating insects.

Jeff Palmquist, Director of Planning, Research and Grants receiving the Jane Foulser Habitat Award on behalf of the Fox Valley Park District from Connie Schmidt, DuPage Monarch Project Board Member

“This award validates the commitment of the Fox Valley Park District and our staff to pollinator habitat. Expansion, enhancement and management of pollinator habitat remain a top priority of our Board of Commissioners. It directly supports our pillar of conservation and environmental stewardship and we appreciate the DuPage Monarch Project’s collaborative approach in addressing monarch decline,” said Jeff Palmquist, Director of Planning, Research and Grants for the Fox Valley Park District.

Naperville Park District is the recipient of the Pat Miller Community Engagement Award for their longstanding commitment to involving residents in the District’s natural areas development and enhancement.  While habitat projects are in the planning stage, residents are offered an opportunity to comment and provide input. Scouts, corporate, church and service groups regularly volunteer for weeding, seeding, planting and removing invasive species. In 2018 and 2019, volunteers participated in a Dandelion Pull, cosponsored by Midwest Grows Green, as part of the natural land maintenance approach used at Knoch Knolls Park.  The extensive community participation spreads awareness of the problems facing pollinators and provides ways for concerned residents to be directly involved in the solutions.  

Brad Wilson, Director of Recreation and Facilities receiving the Pat Miller Community Engagement Award on behalf of the Naperville Park District from Connie Schmidt, DuPage Monarch Project Board Member

“We thank the DuPage Monarch Project for this award which recognizes our efforts to not only increase monarch habitat but educate the public about this important issue. Each year we display monarch butterflies in our nature center, allowing visitors to view the stages of a monarch’s life. Since 2016 we have added 5 Monarch Waystations to our parks and hosted a Monarch Festival that was attended by 700 people. At the Naperville Park District, we are committed to taking care of the environment by expanding pollinator habitat and involving the community each step of the way,” said Angelique Harshman, Nature Center Manager at the Knoch Knolls Nature Center.

“DuPage Monarch Project is proud of the Fox Valley and Naperville Park Districts for integrating pollinator preservation into the vision for their parks,” said Lonnie Morris, Coordinator, DuPage Monarch Project. “Excellent progress is being made on achieving our shared vision of a pollinator friendly county.”

Watch the Awards Ceremony.

You’re Invited!

DuPage Monarch Project is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Jane Foulser Habitat and Pat Miller Community Engagement awards on Tuesday January 19th at 2:00 pm.  You are invited to join us in recognizing these outstanding achievements in increasing pollinator habitat and the community’s awareness of solutions for monarch decline.

Are you wondering why you’re being invited to share in celebrating these inspiring butterfly projects? It’s because you can make a difference in saving monarchs. You are part of the solution

In December, the US Fish and Wildlife Service responded to a request to list monarch butterflies as threatened due to a steady decrease in their number.  After six years of reviewing the research, it was determined monarchs are threatened but federal protection would not be granted at this time.  The USFWS decision means local conservation projects are even more critical to the survival of monarch butterflies. 

For now, protecting monarchs is up to us.

Volunteers planting for monarchs in Glendale Heights

Your landscaping can be part of the solution to monarch decline by adding milkweed and fall blooming asters and making small changes in maintenance practices like when areas are mowed and cleaned up in spring and fall. The Illinois Monarch Project ( has set a goal of 150 million new stems of milkweed by 2038.  Every new stem planted at home, or at a school, library or church garden helps IMP reach that goal.

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed planted by the City of West Chicago

The cities, villages, park districts, garden clubs and churches participating in the DuPage Monarch Project are making progress on the shared vision of a monarch friendly county with habitat stretching from Wayne to Naperville and Bensenville to Darien.  Working together, the goal is within our reach.

Register for the Awards Ceremony at:

We encourage you to widely share the link with interested staff and volunteers.  Saving monarchs needs all hands-on deck, everyone is welcome to participate.

DuPage Monarch Project is a collaboration of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, River Prairie Group of the Illinois Sierra Club, The Conservation Foundation and Wild Ones Greater DuPage Chapter, dedicated to the protection of monarch butterflies and pollinators.

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