dupage monarch project: communities protecting pollinators

Call for Art for Pollinators in Action: Flowering Journeys’ Exhibit at Mayslake Peabody Estate

Artists are invited to submit artwork Feb. 1 – April 15 for “Pollinators in Action: Flowering Journeys,” an art exhibit featuring pollinators May 6 – June 29 at Mayslake Peabody Estate at 1717 W. 31st St. in Oak Brook.

The exhibit is designed to showcase these easily overlooked but vital critters through eye-catching works of art. The exhibit will also feature fun facts about pollinators to help visitors connect the beauty of pollinators to the critical role they play in our ecosystem.

“You might not stop to admire a beetle on the sidewalk, but a stunning painting of a beetle might catch your eye,” said Mayslake heritage interpreter Kendra Strubhart, who is curating the exhibit. “The show is meant to encourage our community to celebrate the actions of all pollinators.”



Artists can submit work by filling out an online application form. Questions? Contact Shannon Burns at

Guidelines for submissions include:

  • Artwork should represent the artists’ interpretation of the theme “Pollinators in Action: Flowering Journeys.”
  • Subject matter should be DuPage- or Illinois-inspired.
  • Participants should be Illinois residents.
  • Subject matter must be appropriate for all ages.
  • Artwork must be hangable.
  • Artists must be able to drop off their artwork on May 4 between 6 and 8 p.m. and pick up their artwork on June 29 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The DuPage Monarch Project is a countywide effort by the DuPage Forest Preserve DistrictConservation FoundationSierra Club’s River Prairie Group and Greater DuPage Wild Ones to provide education about monarchs and increase suitable monarch habitat in DuPage County.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 4 million people visit its 60+ forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit, where you can also link to the District’s e-newsletterblogFacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.

Marvelous Monarchs

Marvelous Monarchs
January 18
1-2:30 p.m.
St. James Farm Indoor Riding Arena

Get ready for the annual arrival of the monarchs by learning how you can help these beautiful insects and other pollinators. Leave with a packet of native milkweed seeds to start your own native garden at home. Ages 12 and up; under 18 with an adult. $5 per person.

Register online or at 630-580-7025.

monarchcaterpillar_GE park district

DuPage Monarch Project 2019 Annual Report

DuPage communities implemented many interesting and innovative monarch initiatives in 2019. Check them out in this year’s Annual Report.



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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