The vision of this program of the Monarch Initiative started in 2016 when three retired grannies decided they needed something more meaningful than their regular lunches. They wanted to leave a legacy, for their families and their community. After two years of researching and lunching, they decided that Monarchs were in dire need of help. So, they began recruiting friends and monarch experts, developing plans and writing grants and participating in fundraising. In 2018, they worked with the Schaumburg Park District and a team of 60+ volunteers. Monarch rearing cages were built at the Spring Valley Nature Center and trained volunteers began raising monarchs from eggs. The project required a minimum of 1.5 hours a week per volunteer, seven days a week from June to September. In 2019, the volunteers released monarchs, raised from eggs, at twice-daily educational events. Over 6,000 people attended these events, and we were honored with a Governor’s Hometown Award for our work. In 2020 and 2012 we could no longer use park facilities, due to COVID. However, volunteers raised them in their homes. To continue their educational outreach, they affiliated with the University of Georgia’s Project Monarch Health.

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