NORMAL, Ill. – July 12, 2022 –Town of Normal Parks & Recreation added educational signs about monarch butterflies and a photo-worthy set of butterfly wings to Underwood Park in addition to new birdhouses designed to attract birds to the native habitat area.
Town of Normal Mayor Chris Koos annually signs the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge with the National Wildlife Federation committing to preserving and restoring native prairie plantings which provide a natural wildlife habitat for the monarch butterfly.
“Adding an educational component to Underwood Park extends the Town’s commitment to these vital Illinois insects,” says Koos. “Even better, the large butterfly wings provide a photo opportunity and encourage conversation among park visitors about the importance of these majestic pollinators. We expect to see a lot of happy smiles in front of these wings.”
Educational signs provide park visitors with information about the characteristics and colors of the monarch butterfly, the egg-to-butterfly process and their habitat and diet. The wings span four feet and are situated off The Constitution Trail near the Brander Shelter in the north side of Underwood Park near the near native grasses and prairie pollinators.
Butterfly wing creation
The butterfly wings were created in conjunction with the Illinois State University College of Applied Science and Technology. The Town partnered with Dr. Chris Merrill who recommended appropriate materials to create the wings, as well as installation best practices; Adam Burke from ISU Printing Services oversaw the sign printing. The educational signs were designed by Town of Normal Graphic Design Intern Emily Baker, a Bachelor of Fine Arts Student at ISU.
Girl Scout Troop builds birdhouses for Underwood Park
Girl Scout Troop #1557 built and installed four bird houses in the native habitat area at Underwood Park, hoping to attract additional birds to the area.
“The idea to make the birdhouses was inspired by my grandpa who loved birds and bird watching,” says Berit Rice. “I pitched the idea to the troop, and we made the birdhouses at one of our meetings.”
The birdhouses, which helped the scouts earn silver awards, are made from a pattern Rice’s grandfather provided. The houses are designed to attract birds native to the prairie lands of Illinois, including house sparrows, chickadees, downy woodpeckers and wrens.
“We researched what birds look for in a nesting site,” adds Rice. “We also enjoyed learning carpentry to make the houses.”
More to come
The Town of Normal has plans for additional educational signs and amenities in other areas throughout the community, including information about bees and a pollinator hotel which will be erected later this year in the Food Forest at One Normal Plaza.
These efforts are an extension of the Town of Normal’s collaboration with ISU and the Ecology Action Center to educate residents and increase awareness about the importance of native habitats in our community.
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Pictured above from left to right: Berit Rice and Grace Johnson.