West Chicago, Illinois: July 6, 2017 – New signage designating a section of garden located at West Chicago’s City Hall (475 Main Street) a certified and registered Monarch Waystation, will be unveiled by Mayor Ruben Pineda on Monday, July 10, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend the short ceremony and celebrate the release of a dozen Monarch butterflies to commemorate the occasion.
Mayor Pineda and members of City Council have long been supportive of conservation efforts that help to promote an increase the Monarch population in West Chicago. By encouraging native landscaping that reduces storm water runoff and not using pesticides for maintaining City-owned open spaces, the City has been doing its part. In March of 2017, at the request of the West Chicago Environmental Commission, Mayor Pineda joined other local government officials in signing the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge. The Pledge served to affirm West Chicago’s commitment and bring awareness to the general public about the importance of assisting with the effort.
Since that time, 25 Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), 38 Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), and 38 Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) were planted at City Hall. Additionally, 22 Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella), 35 Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), and 38 Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) plants, 3 Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) and 1 Summer Sweet (Clethra acnifolia) plants filled in the bed that faces Main Street on the northeast side of the building. The garden plan was carefully considered to maximize benefit to the monarch population, and qualify it as an official Monarch Waystation by the Monarch Watch organization, a cooperative network of students, teachers, volunteers and researchers dedicated to the study and conservation of Monarchs. The native Milkweed is the only plant the caterpillar’s will eat, the nectar plants are for butterfly nourishment and the planting density is for cover/protection from predators.
Furthermore, according to Monarch Watch, Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for Monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Without milkweeds throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, Monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall. Similarly, without nectar from flowers these fall migratory Monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico. The need for host plants for larvae and energy sources for adults applies to all monarch and butterfly populations around the world.