Wisconsin Monarch Champions

Monarchs need people who care, advocate, and work hard for them. The individuals, groups, and entities listed below have been identified by members of their community as going above and beyond for monarch conservation. Click on the "more info" link below each name to learn more, and scroll down to nominate a Monarch Champion in your community!
Kindergarten class in outdoor classroom

Peter Dargatz - Nature Kindergarten Teacher

Peter created and coordinates a nature kindergarten program in our public school. As part of his extensive work with this initiative, he has also led a prairie restoration and butterfly garden installation. With the kindergarteners and with the district's family nature club (which he also created), Peter works tirelessly to improve the existing outdoor classroom by removing invasive species, planting natives, and educating the community about the importance of native species, pollinators, and general stewardship and service to the land. On top of the work he does in school, he has presented at nature-based education conferences across the country, interspersing elements of service learning and citizen science to his audiences. He also raises butterflies at his home and volunteers in citizen science projects for Waukesha County's Conservation in the Parks program and the Ice Age Trail Alliance.
Natalie with flower bouquets - WI Monarch Champion

Youth Volunteer - Natalie

Natalie has been obsessed with monarchs since she first held one at age 2 (she is now 5). She has helped plant butterfly gardens at our home and at her school. She loves raising monarchs at home, collecting eggs and caterpillars herself from the yard, and loves to check on her tanks every morning to update counts of each life stage. Natalie likes to invite her friends over to see her monarchs and help tag/release them. Every monarch raised indoors by our family gets inspected under a compound microscope for OE before release - first by Natalie, then by me. Natalie records the data and refers to herself as a "butterfly scientist". She helps clean the tanks daily, and raise hundreds of potted milkweeds for an abundant and safe food source for our caterpillars. Natalie also likes to deliver native flower bouquets to our neighbors to share the beauty of our butterfly gardens. Her school received a grant to create a new butterfly garden, and Natalie helped with preparing the new site (82 2nd graders did the planting with adult supervision). Natalie is interested in all things monarch and will talk about monarchs with her friends, family, and teachers at every opportunity.
Shorewood Monarch Project participant educating the public

Shorewood Monarch Project

Shorewood Monarch Project is an intergenerational community initiative to increase awareness about the importance of butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects and to encourage residents to conserve and create healthy habitats for pollinators in their own yards. It is led by staff from Shorewood Public Library and Senior Resource Center. Efforts include the following:
  • Having two public gardens certified as Monarch Waystations.
  • Joining the National Wildlife Federations' Mayor's Monarch Pledge Leadership Circle.
  • Working with area schools on educational projects concerning butterflies and other pollinators, supporting establishment of pollinator gardens on elementary school grounds,displaying and distributing students' informational posters, pamplets, and bookmarks.
  • Encouraging the creation of pollinator friendly gardens through sponsored butterfly gardening programs, annual milkweed give-away at Shorewood Farmer's Market, garden photo contest, assisting two area senior citizen residential facilities in creating butterfly gardens,and sharing information through social media.
  • Displaying an annual live caterpillar to monarch exhibit at the Shorewood Public Library including printed information.
  • Increasing the use of pollinator-friendly native plants in public gardens, including boulevards.
Employees of MGE planting a pollinator garden

Jeanne Burns-Frank
Environmental Systems Manager at MGE

Jeanne leads the monarch and pollinator efforts at MGE. She is getting MGE involved in the statewide utility efforts supporting the conservation plans. She also has organized events within MGE to promote pollinators and their habitat. She coordinated with UW experts to select the proper wildflower plantings at our facilities and organized a volunteer group to implement the plan. There are a number of educational events leading up to pollinator week that Jeanne has organized within the company. As a result, stories on the monarch, pollinators, and habitat have been circulating through various communication formats with our employees and customers spreading awareness.

Pollinators and habitat got so much attention, MGE named its Peregrine Falcon chicks that hatched this year at the Blount Generating Station after WI wildflowers (https://www.mge.com/our-environment/falcons/news).
Monarch preparing for release

Anonymous Monarch Champion

For the last 3 years, my daughter has been saving monarchs by planting milkweed. She has taken caterpillar habitats to her son's school and let them flourish.

Nominate a "Wisconsin Monarch Champion"

Do you know an individual, group, or organization that is making a difference for monarchs in Wisconsin? Nominate them to be featured as a Monarch Champion! Their story will be featured on this website and on social media. By sharing their work we can spread the word about all of the different ways we can help conserve monarchs in our state.