Monarch Mania is going strong at the library and is spreading throughout Shorewood. The dictionary definition of mania as “excessive enthusiasm” is an apt description for Shorewood’s appreciation of nature. We are already a designated tree and bird city. Now, thanks to the Shorewood Monarch Project, we are also a butterfly city.
The Shorewood Monarch Project is an intergenerational initiative led by Library and Senior Resource Center staff. Its aim is to encourage the creation and protection of healthy habitats for butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects. As part of the project, the bluff at Atwater Park has been certified as a colossal monarch waystation.
Development, pesticide use, and severe weather have greatly reduced the places these beneficial insects can feed. Creating and conserving healthy habitats for pollinators is the most important thing we can do to help our winged friends.
Many local groups are doing their part to help the cause. Students at St. Robert and Atwater Schools created informational posters and bookmarks now on display in the Library and Village Center. St. Robert, Atwater, and Lake Bluff Schools are in the process of developing butterfly friendly gardens. The Shorewood Men’s Club provided funds for three programs about pollinators including “Butterfly Garden to Go.” Participants were able to plant starter butterfly gardens as part of the event. If you missed that program, we were at the Shorewood Farmers Market giving away milkweed plants.
We are also helping to increase the local monarch population. Every summer, the Library raises monarch caterpillars from larva to butterfly. Raising butterflies is a wonderful way to teach children about nature, life-cycles, sequencing, and responsibility. It is also fascinating fun. Stop in to watch the growth of our little friends and witness metamorphosis close up. Check out one of our many butterfly books to learn more. Currently, we have two very hungry caterpillars and two chrysalises.