The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently announced that the migratory monarch butterfly has entered the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The monarch butterfly is the official state insect of Illinois. “Today’s Red List update highlights the fragility of nature’s wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating across thousands of kilometers,” stated Dr. Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General, in the recent announcement. The monarch butterfly is known for its migrations from warm winter climates to breeding grounds throughout the United States and Canada. In 2017, the Village of Villa Park initiated the planting of five butterfly gardens along the Great Western Trail, just west of Villa Avenue. In addition to beautifying the trail, the five gardens provide a habitat for each stage of a monarch butterfly’s life. Various Villa Park commissions adopted each of the gardens along the trail and committed to care for and maintain them. The Villa Park Community F.U.N. (Focus on Unifying Neighbors) Commission has adopted the pictured garden. The migrating population of monarch butterflies that spends the winter in Mexico eventually heads north, likely reaching Texas each February. Those butterflies then mate, lay eggs and die. The babies that hatch and become butterflies in Texas will make their own northward migration, perhaps reaching Oklahoma or Missouri, where they will mate, lay eggs and die. The mate/lay eggs/die process continues, with the butterflies reaching Illinois and extending into Canada. Each fall, the monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains travel up to 3,000 miles to central Mexico. The monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains make a shorter migration, traveling west to California.


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