Butterflies need gardens in the same way gardens need pollinators, they rely on each other to survive. The rapid and alarming decline of monarch butterflies has energized Wheaton Garden Club members to add healthy habitat to their landscaping and integrate pollinator conservation into their mission. Wheaton Garden Club has also gone one step further by joining the DuPage Monarch Project as an Associate Member.
Wheaton Garden Club’s involvement in monarch conservation began in early 2017 when interested members formed a committee to determine the steps the club would undertake to help save the vanishing butterfly. Two goals were established, planting 10 monarch waystations and asking Mayor Gresk, Wheaton’s mayor at that time, to sign a proclamation of support for monarchs. The proclamation was signed in May 2017.
While gardeners were adding milkweed to their gardens, a series of educational initiatives at the Wheaton Public Library was launched. The club sponsored and created displays in 2017 and 2018, including providing the “Bee a Pollinator Champion” poster designed by Therese Davis, a DuPage Monarch Project volunteer.
Pollinators became the theme for the club’s annual flower show in 2019. The show, titled Pollinator Power, was a subtle reference to “flower power,” the popular hippie slogan, cleverly linking the fate of flowers to pollinators. Jane Kellenberger, a member of the Wheaton Garden Club and Nature Artists’ Guild of the Morton Arboretum, artistically reinforced the idea of the mutual benefits between pollinators and flowers by accurately referencing the colors and style of 1960’s art in the poster she designed for the show.
By the close of 2020, club members have planted ten monarch gardens and five are registered with Monarch Watch.
The organizations leading the effort to save monarch butterflies from extinction have issued a call for “all hands on deck.” Wheaton Garden Club has heard that call and stepped up to the challenge.