The DuPage Monarch Project is a collaboration of four local environmental and conservation organizations, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, River Prairie Group of the Illinois Sierra Club, The Conservation Foundation and Wild Ones Greater DuPage Chapter. Each of these organizations is individually involved with protecting monarch butterflies and pollinators while supporting the outreach efforts and county wide networking of the DuPage Monarch Project.


The Forest Preserve District’s mission is “to acquire and hold lands containing forests, prairies, wetlands and associated plant communities or lands capable of being restored to such natural conditions for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna and scenic beauty for the education, pleasure and recreation of its citizens.”

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County manages 26,000 acres of land in their preserves and leased properties and all of them have at least one species of milkweed, with two species in 67 preserves and at least three species in 55. West Chicago Prairie and Waterfall Glen, two of the largest preserves, have 8 species of milkweed.

Hear more about the species of milkweed in the preserves and where they are found in this presentation by Andres Ortega, Forest Preserve Ecologist.

The District is managing their land for all pollinators. All preserves have at least one species of “bee super food” like wild bergamot. A “bee super food” is a more nutritious plant with a higher than average content of protein and amino acids.

Bumblebee on wild bergamot

The District’s land management strategies are undertaken in ways that protect pollinators while enhancing their habitat. Invasive species are removed to open up land for beneficial plants using three techniques; prescribed burns, mowing and herbicides applied under Integrated Pest Management guidelines. When conducting prescribed burns, adjacent areas are left unburned to promote rapid recolonization, mowing is done at higher heights and slower speeds and herbicides are selectively applied on targeted plants.

Volunteers regularly monitor butterflies and the endangered species like the rusty-patch bumblebee and Baltimore checkerspot butterfly are monitored by staff. Monitoring provides data on population increases and declines for informing future planning decisions.

Hear more about how the Forest Preserve District manages land for pollinators in this presentation by Andres Ortega, Ecologist.