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Monarch Festival at Oak Lawn
Midwest Region, September 16, 2017
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Monarchs ready to begin migration.
Monarchs ready to begin migration. - Photo Credit: Adriana Fernandez
Meeting a monarch!
Meeting a monarch! - Photo Credit: Adriana Fernandez

About 350 to 400 people attended the Oak Lawn Park District’s annual Monarch Festival on Saturday, September 16th. The event included two rooms filled with presenters and exhibits in addition to the outdoor tents with representatives from The Field Museum, Sierra Club, University of Illinois Extension Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others. Children had fun making butterfly arts and crafts, participating in an interactive butterfly puppet play, tagging and releasing monarchs, petting bugs, and watching a movie about monarchs. There was a great atmosphere felt on this beautiful sunny day, which was made even livelier by the tunes of the DJ.

 

The little ones, many dressed in the cutest butterfly costumes, were happy to take home bird stickers, bird tattoos, bumble bee bookmarks and other coloring pages. Adults were very interested in the literature available at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife table. Several people wanted to take copies of every single piece of document available and also wanted to take some for their friends. They were particularly interested in learning how to start their own butterfly garden, the types of plants they should buy and the list of places where they could buy them. A lot of people were surprised to learn about the dangers of planting tropical milkweed in the Chicagoland region; there was a document from Monarch Joint Venture that explained the reasons why.

Adults and young ones marveled to learn about the monarch migration and about the cultural connection that the indigenous people of Michoacan have with the monarch butterflies. The monarch’s arrival coincides with the Mexican holiday known as Day of the Dead. The indigenous people of Michoacan, the Purepecha, believe the monarchs are the souls of their loved ones coming home to visit. The little ones were excited to take home a copy of the Legend of the Parakata story and coloring book (https://www.fieldmuseum.org/file/972331).

During the event, 172 monarchs were tagged and released, the beginning of their long journey to Michoacan, Mexico, the land of their ancestors.

By Adriana Fernandez, Program Assistant Operations Manager, Contractor for USFWS - Chicago


Contact Info: Louise Clemency, 847-381-2253, louise_clemency@fws.gov
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