"Monarch Landing" seemed an especially appropriate name when four dozen Monarch butterflies were released at the senior living community in Naperville, IL, in celebration of Grandparents' Day on September 8. "They stayed for hours!" said resident Kay Filkins of the butterflies she ordered from a California farm and tended until they awoke from hibernation in dry ice. "I babysat them overnight and put them in the bathtub so they wouldn't defrost too fast." Grandparents' Day this year marked the second time Filkins has organized a butterfly release at Monarch Landing. "Butterflies are so beautiful, they're almost spiritual," said the third generation master gardener and member of Monarch Landing's Green Earth Society.
Once released on the putting green in Monarch Landing's courtyard, the butterflies immediately gravitated toward the milkweed plants brought in by The Growing Place garden center in Naperville.
Grandparents, parents and grandchildren alike were thrilled by their fluttering majesty on a sunny September Sunday. "Some even landed on the kids," said Filkins, who used colorful maps, charts and a game called "Tagging For Butterflies" to help the young children understand the Monarch's life cycle and migration patterns. She also taught them how to hold the fragile insects, as residents could enter their grandchildren's names in a drawing for a chance to release a butterfly. "There were enough butterflies for all who entered a name. My aim for Grandparents' Day was to bring grandparents and grandchildren together by providing a friendly, exciting, educational experience," said the grandmother of 22 who spent many summers with her granddaughters creating caterpillar habitats at The Growing Place. Four of her grandchildren joined her and her husband James at the celebration. "My granddaughter helped show the children how to hold the butterflies without hurting them."
After the butterfly release, a kid-friendly brunch, and free time for families to enjoy the pool, ping pong and other activities, Beth Wagner of Scales & Tails brought a hands-on, educational animal show to Monarch Landing's Millstone Lounge. Some cute, some crawly, the critters included baby chicks, chinchillas that sat on the children's heads, a baby hedgehog, a tarantula, a two-toed sloth, an anteater, a well-trained owl that flew across the room and back on command, and a potbelly pig that snorted and made noises the entire time. "It was hilarious!" said Monarch Landing Lifestyle Coordinator Sherry DeFillippo. "There were some great photo opportunities with some very enchanted children. Grandparents' Day was beyond fun and a great learning experience for all. Everyone had a blast."
Monarch Landing is a senior living community on a scenic campus in Naperville, Illinois - named "one of America's best places to live and retire" by Modern Maturity. Monarch Landing is owned by Senior Care Development and managed by Life Care Services. For additional information, visit www.welcometomonarchlanding.com.