Children's Monarch Fest focuses on conservation
At the Children's Monarch Fest organized by the Elmhurst Garden Club and Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition, families can play while learning about butterflies and how to make their yards enticing natural habitats.
The Children's Monarch Fest is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 9, in Wilder Park, 175 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst.
The fest is in conjunction with the Elmhurst Garden Club's Garden Walk and Faire. Activities include keynote speaker Pat Miller discussing "Monarch Magic: Discover the Magic of the Monarch," a live butterfly tent, free milkweed seed giveaway (while supplies last), native plant sale, monarch make-and-take craft, be-a-monarch photo-op, and face painting.
Exhibits and activities will focus on the conservation and preservation of the monarch butterfly and native and prairie plants. Exhibitors include DuPage Monarch Project, Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition, Elmhurst Public Library, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Midwest Pesticide Action Center, Natural Communities Native Plants, and University of Illinois Master Gardeners.
Miller will present "Monarch Magic" at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in Wilder Mansion. Park Art Center will offer face painting from 1 to 3 p.m. Elmhurst Public Library staff will read to children while they wait in line for the live butterfly tent. And Exiner Art Studio is providing the be-a-monarch photo-op.
In early 2016, at the request of the Elmhurst Garden Club, Elmhurst Mayor Steven Morley signed the Mayors' Monarch Pledge of the National Wildlife Foundation. He issued a proclamation designed to raise awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly and the species' need for habitat.
Several national organizations are working to help restore the declining population of monarch butterflies and pollinators. Among them are monarchwatch.org, WildOnes, and the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.
This collaboration involves more than 140 government, collegiate and private organizations working for the protection of pollinators across Mexico, Canada and the United States.
The Elmhurst Garden Club declared 2017 the Year of the Monarch. Additionally, Garden Clubs of Illinois has a statewide monarch initiative. Locally, the DuPage Monarch Project is asking municipalities to sign a resolution committing them to increase the number of native milkweed plants on city-owned land where appropriate, reducing the use of pesticides that threaten butterflies and pollinators, and educating residents about milkweed, including local sources for use in residential landscaping.
Steps to help protect monarchs and their migration include:
• Plant milkweed. Monarch caterpillars need milkweeds to grow and develop. To learn which milkweed species are native to Illinois and how to plant them, visit monarchwatch.org.
• Plant native butterfly nectar plants. Nectar is crucial to the monarch population, providing energy for breeding, for their migratory journey, and to build reserves for the long winter. For information on Illinois natives, visit dnr.illinois.gov.
• Avoid using pesticides. Insecticide and herbicide used to control insects and weeds have unintended consequences on pollinators and wildlife, including bees, birds, butterflies and aquatic organisms.
• Encourage public land managers to create a monarch habitat. Roadsides and parks of all sizes offer great opportunities to create habitat for monarchs and other pollinators.
For information or to sponsor or exhibit at the fest, contact Barbara Lonergan at (630) 426-9789.
If you goWhat: Children's Monarch Fest
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 9
Where: Wilder Park, 175 S. Park Ave., Elmhurst
Info: (630) 426-9789