DuPage Monarch Project is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the Jane Foulser Habitat and Pat Miller Community Engagement Awards.

This year’s Jane Foulser Habitat Award recognizes Naperville Park District’s contribution to monarch and pollinator conservation through their historic commitment to managing land with native species and including goals for additional pollinator and monarch habitat in their long range planning.

In 2021, Naperville Park District added 7.16 acres of quality habitat featuring site appropriate native trees and richly diverse mixes of native grasses, sedges and forbs.  Included in this year’s projects was a planting at the Frontier Sports Complex on a new 2.4 acre berm built with soil dredged from a pond undergoing restoration.

Two ongoing programs, the restoration and stabilization of shorelines and conversion of underutilized turf areas to habitat will continue to add habitat for many years.  

Pollinator Planting
Riverwalk Park, Naperville
photo courtesy of Naperville Park District

The Jane Foulser Habitat Award will be presented to the Naperville Park District at a Board meeting on October 14th, Fort Hill Activity Center, 20 Fort Hill Drive, Naperville.

This year’s Pat Miller Community Engagement Award recognizes the Village of Westmont’s innovative No Mow til Mother’s Day initiative. Suburban yards and gardens are making  significant contributions to pollinator conservation by shrinking the lawn and planting native flowers. Westmont recognized the potential for lawns to also be a solution.

Delaying the first mowing in spring allows the flowering plants found in many lawns to bloom, providing important nectar sources for queen bees emerging from winter hibernation.  Months of diligent research and discussion by the Environmental Improvement Committee convinced the Village Board of the merits of No Mow til Mother’s Day and provided a solid foundation for rolling out the program to the community.  

No Mow til Mother’s Days participants received a yard sign with a QR code link to Westmont’s website for more information about the project.

No Mow til Mother’s Day was well organized and executed from start to finish.  Residents quickly signed up, with participation exceeding expectations. The enthusiastic reception indicates widespread support for pollinator conservation even when it involves letting the grass grow.

Westmont’s No Mow til Mother’s Day initiative provided essential resources at a critical time for bumble bees as well as a turnkey project for other communities to adopt.

The Pat Miller Community Engagement Award will be presented at a Village Board meeting on October 7th at 6:00 pm, Westmont Village Hall, 31 W Quincy St.