Important butterflies get VIP treatment
By Mary Hadac
Southwest Chicago Post reporter
“Call it ‘The Monarchs of Mayfield,’” one Garfield Ridge
neighbor chuckled about the
situation in the 5200 block of South Mayfield.
But what sounds like the latest BBC miniseries is actually a real-life drama involving monarch butterflies, important pollinators of plants that are part of the world’s food supply.
It started years ago, with Jackie Faber and Alex Moreno taking in monarch butterfly eggs and caring for them inside their home, away from ants and other predators.
Back then, Faber’s son was a student at St. Jane de Chantal School.
“I brought a bunch of [the eggs and caterpillar hatchlings] to school, and all the classrooms started raising them” she recalled. “We jut did it, and from there I kept doing it. I dropped it for a few years, but then we came back to it. Now that I’m retired, it seems like a full time job.”
The hobby soon grew beyond their house. The St. Jane Holy Name Society planted four milkweed plants around the parish grounds. The milkweed plant is where monarch butterflies lay their eggs. The caterpillars can eat the leaves once they hatch. According to Moreno, the parish now has around a dozen milkweed plants.
Now, three other neighbors on their block have taken up this
full time hobby,
including Teri Korolewicz and her husband, Jack.
|Teri and Jack Kororlewicz and their milkweed plants|
“We started doing it because with me being a Girl Scout leader, I’m always trying to show the girls the impact they have on the environment,” Teri said. “So with our two young daughters, we were showing them that if you help these creatures along, you’re helping the environment.
“There have been a couple of times that my younger Girl Scouts are preparing for something else and I’ll be like, ‘Wait a minute. We had a butterfly hatch, so we have to stay for a little bit so we can watch it dry out…and the girls are absolutely fascinated with seeing this,” she continued. “And then as they see them as they walk through the neighborhood, they’re like, ‘I wonder if that’s our butterfly?’ They love the fact that they’re able to help.”
The butterflies seem to soak up the attention, Jack added.
|Jack Korolewicz looks at monarch chrysalises|
“Last year, I basically had a butterfly sitting on my shoulder,” he recalled with a smile. “For a half hour I was talking to Jackie and my wife, and it just sat there…didn’t want to fly away. I thought, well, I must be picked for something.”