Park District Takes Illinois Monarch Project Pledge

March 23, 2021

The Park District of Highland Park has joined the City of Highland Park’s commitment to protect monarch butterflies by taking the Illinois Monarch Project Pledge to plant and protect monarch habitat in our community.   This step aligns with the Park District’s mission to enhance community life with an appreciation of the natural world and our vision of inspiring environmental stewardship and education

Over the past 20 years, the iconic Monarch Butterfly has faced a significant decline in habitat, specifically milkweed plants they require for breeding and nourishment during migration. In response, a new statewide initiative, the Illinois Monarch Project, was formed to protect and enhance existing habitat and help establish new habitat that supports monarchs and other pollinators.

The goal of the 15-year project is to plant 150 million new milkweed stems in the state of Illinois by 2038. What does that look like? Each person in the state of Illinois plants 12 stems or four milkweed plants per acre in the entire state.

As part of its pledge, the Park District is creating educational and interactive programming to engage the community on how to create sustainable pollinator habitats.

Get Involved

Planting Milkweed 

Plants native to our region such as Common and Swamp Milkweed are well adapted to our soil and climate. Select a planting location based on the guidelines below:

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca):
• Full sun
• Average to moist soil
• Height= 3-6 feet
• Purple or white spherical umbel flowers bloom June-August

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata):
• Part to full sun
• Average to moist soil
• Height= 3-4 feet
• Pink flowers bloom June- August

How to plant:
1. Select a suitable site based on the growing conditions described above.
2. Dig a hole that is wider than the root ball size but not any deeper.
3. Carefully remove the plug from the container. It is best to push the root ball out from the bottom of the container and not pull on the top growth of the plant.
4. If roots appear to be tightly bound together, gently loosen the roots with your fingers.
5. Place the plant in the hole.
6. Fill in the hole around the plant with the removed soil. Compost can be added to enrich the soil.
7. Water thoroughly after planting.
8. Water regularly until plant has become established.