Responsible conservation and sustainability practices remain a top priority for the Fox Valley Park District, and directly support a pillar in our mission to “enrich the community … through environmentally and fiscally responsible actions.”
That’s one reason why Illinois Pollinator Week – June 22-28, this year – always, well, creates a buzz around the District.
The all-important pollinators help carry pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the same or another flower. This movement of pollen – piloted by bees, wasps, butterflies, birds, flies and small mammals, including bats – must occur for the plants to become fertilized and produce fruits, seeds and young plants.
The District’s Board of Commissioners fully endorses our monarch butterfly and pollinator preservation and expansion initiatives.
“It’s rewarding to see the commitment to the improvement and expansion of such habitat areas throughout the District,” said Jeff Palmquist, the FVPD’s director of planning, research and grants. “Moreover, this commitment doesn’t stop with the completion of a particular project. We continue to create more monarch habitats as we improve existing habitat areas, identify additional, suitable habitat areas, secure grant funding assistance for implementation and collaborate with partnering agencies to most efficiently and effectively grow additional areas for our pollinators to prosper.”
The District owns and manages more than 500 acres of native ecosystems, much of which includes pollinator habitats. Since 2015, the District has converted 18 acres of turfgrass into pollinator/monarch habitats.
Other FVPD initiatives include:
- Joining a collaborative effort in 2016 – the DuPage Monarch Project – to improve and increase monarch habitat.
- Also in 2016, under an initiative led by the Conservation Foundation, joining with various open space agencies up and down the Fox River to secure grant funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of a project titled the Fox Valley Monarch Corridor Project. The FVPD secured grant funding ($15,000) to create monarch habitats at four sites – Hoscheit Park (0.29 acres), Stonegate Park (2.2), New Haven Park (2.9) and Wingfoot Park (2.11 ac.).
- Securing grant funding ($10,000 in both 2019 and 2020) from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation to expand the pollinator habitat at Stuart Sports Complex. (Currently, there are more than 50 acres of native habitat at Stuart.)
“The work being done by the Fox Valley Park District is creating an essential ingredient of the monarch butterfly’s recovery,” said Lonnie Morris, coordinator of the DuPage Monarch Project. “Their projects are inspiring examples of how working cooperatively will replenish the habitat required by a species whose migration spans communities, states and nations.”
The FVPD remains committed to collaborating with other agencies and utilizing grants to leverage our resources and actively expand pollinator habitats at appropriate sites.
“Pollinator movement migration extends across the region,” Palmquist said, “so well-coordinated placement, from a regional perspective, proves most effective.”