CHICAGO (CBS) — A new effort to try to increase the dwindling population of Illinois’ state insect, the monarch butterfly, was set to begin this weekend in the Glen Ellyn area.
The monarch butterfly’s population has been going down because of the devastation of the milkweed plant, the only plant monarch butterfly caterpillars can use for food.
Third graders at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Glen Ellyn were involved in a problem-based learning program, and thought one way to solve the problem is to grow more milkweed.
“There were four students that were just amazing, and they took this solution – which was planting more milkweed – to the Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission,” said Sandy Fejt, education site manager at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn.
That led to the idea of distributing milkweed seed packets, which the Wildlife Center will begin doing Saturday during two programs at the Glen Ellyn Library. Throughout the summer, the DuPage County Forest Preserve District will be giving away 8,000 milkweed seed packets.