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Each day, each of us can consciously do something, no matter how small, to ensure that we are caring for the earth and being good stewards of the environment. Using less plastic, eating less meat, burning less fossil fuel, refraining from the use of pesticides, and planting a tree are just some of the simple ways we can help protect our planet.

It’s not just humans who play a role in safeguarding the environment, though we are the species most aware of it. They don’t know it, but bees, butterflies, birds and other insects and animals hugely impact the health of an ecosystem.

As they flit about doing their natural thing, bees and butterflies help the food chain by pollinating plants that produce fruits, flowers and seeds for the creatures, including humans, that consume them. An abundance of butterflies and other pollinating insects is an indication of the health of an ecosystem, while a lack of them is a sign that it may be at risk.

Climate change and destruction of nature is the number one global concern among millennials and many others. As such, people around the world are becoming increasingly committed to preserving and restoring the environment.

Naperville, a city graced with miles of prairie path, river and streams, is home to various living things that are attracted to these natural elements. It is also home to humans passionate about sustainability and being green.

The City of Naperville (back on Money magazine’s list of top 100 U.S. cities in which to live) prides itself on partnering with sustainability services that ensure a high quality of life for future generations.

In May, the city achieved silver SolSmart status for its efforts in facilitating solar energy in homes and businesses. The Park District’s Green Team makes it their mission to identify, implement and track environmental initiatives. There’s even a Meetup group in Naperville focused on sustainability.

At Monarch Landing, our name is not just a pretty attempt to conjure images of something that doesn’t really exist. Quite literally, and intentionally, our gardens and surrounding prairie are meccas for the pollinators upon which the ecosystem depends. In particular, the endangered Monarch butterfly contributes greatly to the health of our planet. Residents have taken great care in planting 38 garden plots, or “gardenscapes,” visited regularly by vital insects and birds.

One of these gardens, tended by a resident who lends new meaning to the term “green thumb,” is a 35’ x 7’ official butterfly waystation created with the sole purpose of providing nectar sources and shelter for migrating Monarchs. Another large plot is tended by a resident who is a master gardener.

Outside of the gardens, Monarch Landing’s 60 acres of land is alive with the native prairie plants, trees, flowers and grasses that nourish the flow of the food chain and encourage a thriving environment.

Yet another resident, a member of Monarch Landing’s Green Earth Society, brought awakening Monarch butterflies to the community and released them to the delight of staff, residents and their families. The butterfly release at Monarch Landing is an enchanting event that illuminates the majesty, and value, of these black and orange beauties.

Together, all creatures great and small can protect and preserve our precious planet.