Earlier this month, West Chicago resident Judith Horsley was recognized by the national organization America in Bloom (AiB) as one of several Dwight Lund Community Champion nominees throughout the country who have demonstrated a vision and selfless commitment to moving their communities forward. Her nomination, which was submitted by the City of West Chicago, contained an impressive list of contributions resulting from her active involvement in the community.
The formal nomination document outlined these contributions as follows:
“Judi is a Community Champion in every sense of the word. She is a lifelong learner who continually enriches her community by generously sharing her knowledge, wisdom, and talents. A Certified Master Naturalist of the University of Illinois Extension Service, Judi has spread the message of protecting our environment and preserving our at-risk pollinators by distributing milkweed seed since 2013 at community special events and at her church, raising Monarchs from eggs or larva since 2014 (raising and releasing 75 in 2018), teaching the church youth group how to raise Monarchs, assisting with nature camps at Fullersburg Woods, and being a Trail Watch member for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
Judi, with the help of her husband Michael, planted a native garden at their church that is now a certified Monarch Waystation, through Monarch Watch. She periodically makes presentations to the West Chicago Environmental Commission, including pitching the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, which was later adopted by Mayor Ruben Pineda. She was recently invited to take part in a three-day course sponsored by the partnership between the United States Forest Service International Programs, the Monarch Joint Venture, and the University of Wisconsin – Madison Arboretum on Monarch and Science Inquiry Learning.
She has also organized an annual pumpkin collection through the County’s School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE), to promote composting. She was co-founder of the Environmental Stewardship group, the Green Disciples at her church, and based on the green practices promoted by the group, the church was awarded the SCARCE Earth Flag in 2012.
Judi freely shares her photographic talents with the community and recently hosted an exhibit of her gorgeous pollinator photographs at the Public Library and Gallery 200. She has offered the City the use of her images for the 2020 seasonal street banner display which will serve to further educate (and delight) the community with her stunning images of bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Judi’s home was a scheduled tour stop for AiB judges because of her gardens which are examples of a wildlife friendly habitat, and which includes a place on her deck for Monarch “hutches” where she nurtures Monarchs at all stages of their development. She uses her personal social media channels to educate and inspire her community followers to love and care for the planet of which we have been entrusted.
Judi is an active member of the West Chicago America in Bloom Committee and made significant contributions in the creation of the 2019 Community Profile. She inspires all who are lucky enough to know her.“
“Judi’s efforts with West Chicago’s Monarch conservation certainly contributed to the City receiving the 2019 America in Bloom Best Pollinator Garden Program sponsored by Crown Bees,” said Rosemary Mackey, AiB Committee Chairperson.
The award was presented at the AiB Symposium in St. Charles by AiB Board Member and 1st Vice President, Leslie Pittenger. Her announcement read in part, “West Chicago welcomes pollinators in a big way with pollinator gardens throughout the City….They also created The Butterfly Effect, a public art project featuring 36 artist-designed butterflies displayed in public gardens throughout the City. The display promotes pollinator conservation and encourages the exploration of all corners of West Chicago”.
Judi is currently working with Michael Gasparini, Superintendent of Parks of the West Chicago Park District on a grant for the design and implementation of a new pollinator garden at Easton Park, located at 840 E. Washington Street.