Elmhurst College will officially dedicate one of its gardens as a Monarch Waystation during a ceremony at noon on Thursday, October 8.
The Bluejay Butterfly Oasis, located between Dinkmeyer Hall and Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, has been a butterfly garden for some time. But the conservation and education group Monarch Watch recently designated the garden a Monarch Waystation, a place that provides the food and habitat necessary for monarch butterflies to produce successive generations and sustain their annual migration from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico, where they spend the winter months.
During the dedication, Sandy Fejt ’03, education site manager at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn, will talk about monarchs and the need for waystations and other resources to help them survive. Light refreshments will be served, and attendees will be given seeds to plant in their own gardens to attract monarchs. The event is free, and the public is invited.
The Butterfly Oasis offers up a banquet of flowers and plants especially suited for monarchs, including geraniums, goldenrod, sedge and milkweed.
“The garden offers an oasis for monarchs,” says Paul Hack, grounds and maintenance supervisor. “They can home in on the plants they need, take a stop, and then keep flying on their route.”
Monarchs are important pollinators that contribute to the health of many plants, but their numbers have been in decline since the 1990s because of an increase in both human development and herbicide use. Butterfly gardens have proliferated in response as a way to help stop the decline.
“The Butterfly Oasis is providing a habitat, it’s providing a food source, and it’s providing a great source of pollination for other plants around it,” says biology major Michael Stuart ’16, who spent the summer working in the garden alongside biology professor Paul Arriola. “The garden is beautiful, but what’s most important is what it does for monarch butterflies.”