Students explore the delicate balance between humans and nature through film
As Illinois Pollinator Week approaches in June, West Chicago is doing its part to bring attention to one pollinator, in particular, the Monarch butterfly.
Through the efforts of the DuPage Monarch Project, the America in Bloom Committee, People Made Visible, the West Chicago Cultural Arts and Environmental Commissions, the West Chicago Garden Club, and West Chicago Community School District 94, a wide-cross section of the community is learning about the contributions monarchs make to the environment and why efforts are needed to protect them from extinction.
Almost 800 students at West Chicago Community High School viewed "The Guardians," a Spanish-language documentary film with English subtitles which interweaves the lives of the threatened monarch butterfly with an indigenous community fighting to restore the forest it nearly destroyed.
The license to show the film was made available to West Chicago Community High School through a grant from Eidolon Films.
It permits multiple showings for one calendar year which will enable the high school to add subsequent showings when the new school year begins and to possibly host a free public viewing of the film for families and other community members in the fall.
Students from Science, World Languages, and ESL classes viewed the film, which was shown every period during the day in the school auditorium.
The film dovetailed with the ongoing interest by Club Green, an after-school program at West Chicago Community High School, to become involved in monarch butterfly conservation.
The club started cultivating a butterfly garden of native plants all winter which will be planted outside their building this spring.
The hope is to create another natural environment in the community for monarchs to visit for nourishment and to lay eggs.
Currently, Club Green is looking for peer volunteers to become "butterfly foster parents" next fall, to raise caterpillars until they shed their skin and become viable butterflies.
A second license for a public showing of the film, "The Guardians," was obtained by the City of West Chicago for People Made Visible, the nonprofit arts organization that operates Gallery 200 in downtown West Chicago.
A free public screening of "The Guardians" will be available at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Gallery 200, 103 W. Washington St. It is part of the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission's multimedia event, "Artéculture."
Additional showings at Gallery 200 of "The Guardians" may be arranged for interested groups over the course of the year by contacting People Made Visible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Our goal is to educate as many people as we can about the critical role our pollinators play in our environment and bring attention to the ways in which we can help ensure their sustainability," said Mayor Ruben Pineda, who signed the National Wildlife Federation's Mayors' Monarch Pledge in 2017.
For more information about Monarch conservation, visit the DuPage Monarch Project's website at dupagemonarchs.com.