Summer is finally here. That means long sunny days, warm breezes, gardens in bloom, and the return of butterflies. The Shorewood Village Board has proclaimed June to be Monarch Month in Shorewood. The Village also took the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge – an official commitment to creating a butterfly friendly community. This is all part of the Shorewood Monarch Project – an intergenerational community initiative led by the Shorewood Public Library and Shorewood Senior Resource Center.
In honor of those winged wonders, the Shorewood Library is once again raising and releasing monarch butterflies. Stop in anytime to see our live Caterpillar to Butterfly display. While you're there, check out our collection of books about butterflies and butterfly gardens.
Currently, we are nurturing four very hungry caterpillars with more to come. In a matter of weeks, they will be ready to take flight. We want to make sure they are released into a welcoming habitat. We have a good start. The Library/Village courtyard is home to a butterfly friendly rain garden. The bluff at Atwater Park is a certified colossal Monarch Waystation. You can help by creating your own butterfly friendly garden. To get you started, the Shorewood Monarch Project will be giving away milkweed and butterfly weed plants at the June 25 Shorewood Farmer’s Market. Share pictures of your pollinator friendly garden with us and you will be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card to Bayside Garden Center. To learn more, visit the Shorewood Monarch Facebook page. Photographs can be shared on Facebook or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why the big flap about butterflies? The Monarch butterfly population has decreased 90% over the past decade. This year there will be 22 million fewer monarchs than last year due to severe weather, wildfires, and pesticide/herbicide use. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Life, without pollinators such as bees and butterflies 85% of the world’s flower plants would disappear. There would be no apples, pumpkins, blueberries or many other fruits and vegetables. This trend can be reversed if we work together to create and preserve healthy habitats for butterflies and other pollinators.
And that is just what the Shorewood Monarch Project is all about. In the past year, the Shorewood Monarch Project has
- worked with Village staff to have June 2017 declared Monarch Month in Shorewood
- joined the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge
- had the bluff at Atwater Park certified as an colossal Monarch Waystation
- supported the schools in the creation of pollinator friendly gardens on school sites
- displayed and distributed information posters and bookmarks created by Shorewood school students
- sponsored programs on monarch migration and butterfly friendly gardens
- distributed milkweed plants at the Shorewood Farmers’ Market
- raised and released 13 monarch butterflies in 2016 with more to come this season
We have great support from Village of Shorewood staff, especially the Department of Public Works. We’ve also benefited from the knowledge and experience of some of our local monarch gurus including JoAnn Macken and Lyndsay Maruszewski.