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Pollinators: Science, Environmentalism, Community and Beauty

Can’t get enough of that pollinator stuff!

Anyone that wants to be involved in the Monarch Butterfly movement should join us for a fun, family friendly event July 9 in downtown Champaign. Bring the family to learn about pollinators and the importance of butterflies. Attending this event will ensure a better understanding of the jobs of pollinators through two wonderful movies made by local experts, Kirby and Cindy Pringle. This event is free, and will also include planting an urban butterfly garden, face painting, and making crafts. In addition, there will be plant giveaways and informational booths on the pollinator awareness movement.

1. “Feed Me!” Shouted the Hungry Monarch Pupa! – These busy babies start out not much bigger than a comma on this screen and within ten days or so they’ve munched on so many milkweed leaves that they look like they’re about to explode.

2. Time for a Magic Nap! – The monarch caterpillar knows when to push itself away from the table and just hang out. It finds a quiet place to turn into a chrysalis featuring a band of gold specks that scientists are still trying to figure out.

3. I Want Candy! – Once the adult monarch has emerged and dried out its wings, it wants the energy-rich, sweet nectar that is at the center of most flowers, perennials and annuals alike. We’ve found that the circus-like Zowie Zinnia is one of the monarchs’ absolute favorites.

4. Hey, Monarchs Aren’t the Only Game in Pollinator Town! – While the monarch story is extremely captivating, we must not forget that there are hundreds of other pollinators working hard to ensure food production and biodiversity. These include other butterflies, moths, wasps, flies, and even bats and hummingbirds.

5. Step Right Up and Get Your Free Pretty Blue Plant! – We are excited that residents look forward to getting one of the 1000+ butterfly milkweed plants that we give away at various Champaign Park District events every summer. This year, we’ve added Smooth Blue Aster to the mix of plants that we want to see more of in people’s Pollinator Hotspots.  It has marvelous blue flowers and provides great amounts of autumn nectar during the monarchs’ return flight to Mexico.

Authored by Randy Hauser, Horticulture Supervisor: randy.hauser@champaignparks.com with intro from Jordan Alexander.

Read more: 5 Snapshots to a Happier Yard & Happier Earth! (Part I)

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