Providing protection for Monarch butterflies through the preservation and restoration of their migratory habitat is in all of our best interest. Therefore, we are happy to be a part of the Illinois Monarch Project’s Technical Steering Committee and chair the Community Engagement Committee to support efforts to protect, preserve, and restore Monarch butterfly habitat during their yearly migration through the state. Illinois chose the Monarch as its state insect in 1975 and today it has become a symbol of pollinator conservation through its migratory range.Declines in milkweed and nectar resources due to development, weed ordinances and herbicide use throughout its migratory range have contributed to declines in the Monarch population.

What is the Illinois Monarch Project?

The Illinois Monarch Project (IMP) is a group of citizens, their organizations, and government bodies working together through collaborative and coordinated efforts, to ensure the survival of Monarchs and their successful migration through Illinois.

The Illinois Monarch Project’s Mission

Helping monarch butterflies thrive throughout Illinois by collaborating on conservation activities and encouraging engagement by public and private landowners across diverse urban and rural landscapes.

Illinois Monarch Project

Many Illinoisans are helping pollinators by planting native florae including milkweed. Milkweed is the only host plant Monarch mothers will lay their eggs on because it’s the only plant Monarch caterpillars will eat. These host plants also provide nectar for other hungry pollinators. People are also using pollinator friendly gardening and lawn maintenance techniques as a way to protect pollinators from harmful chemicals. Illinoisans are not alone; every state within the Monarchs migratory path is contributing with a statewide plan and actions of their own.


Illinois Monarch Project     UIC     Illinois DNR     Illinois Department of Transportation     Illinois Farm Bureau

The decline in milkweed due to development, weed ordinances and herbicide use throughout its migratory range has contributed to the Monarch’s population decline. Some of the factors have also had an adverse effect on other pollinators as well. 

Protecting pollinators safeguards our food security and our heritage.

The Monarch butterfly is more than an insect; it is a significant symbol and part of many cultures’ heritage. These butterflies were called “daughters of the sun” by the Mazahua tribe, referring to the fact that their awakening meant the arrival of the spring sun. Illinois chose the Monarch as its state insect in 1975 and currently it is becoming a symbol of pollinator conservation throughout its migratory range. While butterflies are important pollinators of wildflowers, the majority of fruits and vegetables we consume depend on pollinators such as honeybees and bumblebees. When we help Monarchs, we also help these important pollinators of our food.

The Illinois Monarch Project is working to

* Establish a long-term action plan to enhance monarch butterfly reproduction and survival in Illinois.

* Engage all hands on deck by collaborating with the agriculture, urban, rights-of-way, and natural land sectors.

* Promote and support voluntary conservation action by private landowners.

* Support regional, national and international monarch butterfly conservation strategies.

For more information contact:

Iris Caldwell, P.E.
Energy Resources Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
Office: (312) 355-1483
André Copeland, CIGI, CIP, MT
Interpretive Programs Manager
Chicago Zoological Society
Brookfield Zoo
Office: (708) 688-8845