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Monarch Landing Senior Living Community Manager Helps with Migration

It’s a busy travel season, and she’s a travel agent of sorts. Jennifer Shea-Danalewich, the social worker at Monarch Landing, is helping monarch butterflies as they migrate to Mexico for the winter.

Jennifer is a self-professed ‘nature girl,’ loving flora, fauna, wildlife and insects. On her one-acre property in Downers Grove, she has a praying mantis pod that will hatch up to 200 eggs and bird feeders to attract hummingbirds. An avid gardener, she said that over the past couple of years, she became more aware and respectful of pollinators.

Last summer, Jen noticed two huge monarch caterpillars on milkweed along her driveway at home. “That got me going,” she said. “I started reading and researching and looked at other milkweed on our property. I found eggs and caterpillars and learned how to care for and rear them. I learned so much. The more I learned and observed the process, the more I got addicted and protective because they’re so vulnerable.”

Over the last year or so, the protection of the endangered monarch has become very popular across North America. “It’s fascinating to learn the depth of investment that people have. It’s catching on more all the time,” said Jennifer. Leading the way have been the residents of Monarch Landing, who have a history of being monarch caretakers for years. “My actions mirror what they’ve been doing for a long time,” she said. The residents have a certified waystation, multiple butterfly gardens, some raise monarchs within their residences, and they hold celebratory releases

Jennifer estimated that has raised and released about two dozen monarchs this summer. She brings them to Monarch Landing to release for the residents’ pleasure.

“I’m always inspired by the residents of Monarch Landing in so many ways. Their interests, experiences, and knowledge are amazing. I’ve been fascinated with caring for my monarchs this past two years and have the residents to thank for the introduction,” she said.