The Village of Oak Park is doing its part to help save the monarch butterfly, an iconic North American species whose populations have declined dramatically in recent years.
Village officials recently joined nearly 300 communities across the country — including nearby towns like Evanston, Elmhurst, Glenview and Schaumburg — in a pledge to create a healthy habitat that will aid monarch butterflies on their annual migration across the continent.
In addition to issuing a proclamation to raise awareness of the decline of the monarch butterfly and the species’ need for habitat, the Village will plant native milkweed and nectar plants on public properties when appropriate across the community, including traffic diverters, cul-de-sacs, medians and planters.
The Village already uses mostly native material in public right-of-way locations, but now will be sure to include monarch-friendly vegetation to the planting palette.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, more than one billion Eastern monarch butterflies migrated to Mexico 20 years ago, but only 60 million made the trip in 2014.
Environmental groups claim that the steep decline indicates problems in the environment and note that helping monarchs boosts the entire ecosystem.
Oak Park residents can make a difference, too, by planting native milkweed and nectar plants on their property to provide habitat for pollinators like the monarch butterfly. Milkweed can spread aggressively, so residents are encouraged to plant with care.
Tips on how to create a monarch garden are available on the website of a local environmental group — just visit www.westcook.wildones.org and click the Monarch Garden Support tab at the top of the page.
For more information about the Village’s Monarch Pledge, call 708.358.5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.