Village of Menomonee Falls - In response to development in the Menomonee Falls and surrounding areas, two women from the Menomonee Falls Historical Society, Debbie Schultz and Diane Cowan, have spearheaded a project to start a monarch butterfly haven at Old Falls Village.
The idea for the haven first came about more than a decade ago when Schultz’s triplet boys became curious about an outdoor discovery.
“They found a monarch caterpillar and wanted to see if we could have it form a chrysalis and release it,” Schultz said. “I had to do a lot of research very quickly. I went to the Internet and found out about the destruction of the habitat for the monarchs – how the number of monarchs has been decreasing tremendously over the last few years because of the pesticides and area development. After we successfully released that monarch, we started doing that every year.”
Work on the haven at Old Falls Village started three years ago after the family was walking through the area and found naturally occurring milkweed that was neglected.
“It needed something more,” Schultz said. “We presented the idea to enhance that area to the board of directors to make it a butterfly preserve. It was approved, and it’s going to be an ongoing project.”
Schultz said it would take two to three years to reach a stage she will be happy with. For now, she is asking community members to take time to donate plants.
“We have about a quarter of the plants that we need to complete it. We still need a lot more, and that’s what we are hoping will happen. We would really like donations of plants, if possible, as people divide their perennials at the end of the season. We’re hoping they can donate them to Old Falls Village and put them into the butterfly haven.”
Schultz’s goal is for the haven to offset some of the development that has happened in the area.
“Every place you look, there is development coming in. These areas are being destroyed as subdivisions come in, housing complexes, shopping malls, and these butterflies are having to find new sources, go in different directions, or there just isn’t enough food for them and they die,” Schultz said. “We wanted a little space where the butterflies could be protected, and it’s not going to be developed. They can come and depend on it every year as a source of food for the milkweed for the eggs to be laid and the cycle to continue.”
Not only is Schultz hoping the monarchs will have a safe haven, but she wants the community to become more informed on the issue in general.
“This is something that we feel very strongly about, and I think the public would like to know, as well, because people are just not informed,” Schultz said. “Maybe this will help.”