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S22 Episode 03: Appreciating Monarch Butterflies



Pat Miller, a master naturalist, master gardener and conservation specialist, tells the story of the monarch butterfly, its amazing migration to and from Mexico, its plight and how everyone can help.

Photo taken at the Idea Gardens at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots, Naperville Park District. Photo by Ron Ory.


For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit

Quotes from the episode:

“The monarchs that we see in May, June, July and August are monarchs that are going to live approximately 21-42 days. The monarchs that come out of their chrysalis at the end of the season, September-October, come out in a slightly different state. It is a monarch that is designed to live for about 240 days. It can make the trip all the way to Mexico. What’s interesting to me is that we still do not know how they find their way.” - Pat Miller

“Monarchs will often perch in groups on trees for the night (while on their migration journey). They seem to cluster on the same trees every year. I know two people in St. Charles who have these monarch trees. Every year during migration their trees just fill overnight with monarchs and the next day they’re gone. It’s really amazing.” - Pat Miller

“We make choices every day; what to eat, what to wear, whether or not to squish a bug. We have so much power in our everyday choices. Don't ever forget how much power you have to change things.” - Pat Miller

Our Guest:

Pat Miller is a master naturalist and master gardener with the University of Illinois Extension, served as a plant clinic technician for the Morton Arboretum, and is a conservation specialist with Monarch Watch who has been advocating for monarch butterflies with her friend, Jane Foulser, for more than 15 years.

The DuPage Monarch Project recently established an annual award for monarch advocacy in Pat’s name: the Pat Miller Community Engagement Award. Naperville Park District was the first recipient of this award in 2020.

DuPage Monarch Project posted this biography of Pat Miller and Jane Foulser.

Learn More About Monarchs 

View the Naperville Park District's Spring infographic, Protecting Our Monarchs – Learn how to create your own monarch waystation. – Tracks migrations of monarch butterflies, birds and more – A local organization that encourages communities to protect pollinators – See the Conservation at Home program for assistance with native plants at home. – Learn about native plants to enhance your home landscape and support pollinators.

Let your children experience nature at the Naperville Park District’s Knoch Knolls Nature Center

Visit the Idea Gardens at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots to see a monarch waystation and demonstration gardens featuring native plants.

Volunteer at the Naperville Park District to beautify parks and maintain native plant areas that include milkweed and nectar plants to help monarchs thrive.

Volunteers help plant native plants for pollinators at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots


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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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