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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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