NRDC & Jenny Kendler spy milkweed and monarchs on Chicago City Hall’s green roof

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Artist Jenny Kendler and NRDC’s upcoming project for MD/STL, Milkweed Dispersal Balloons raises awareness about monarch butterflies, and their recent population decline due to climate change and the decrease in milkweed, monarch caterpillars’ only food source.

Milkweed Dispersal Balloons aims to provide an art experience for the viewer, while simultaneously creating an urban source of milkweed for future generations of monarchs. Milkweed is a hearty plants that does well in all types of urban settings, as we were about to see…

Having heard about this art project, as well as NRDC’s ongoing commitment to support pollinators in the Midwest and their extensive work on monarch butterflies, Jenny and the staff of NRDC’s Chicago-based office were recently invited on a behind-the-scenes tour of Chicago City Hall’s famous green roof.

The green roof, a prairie floating in the sky amongst art deco and modern skyscrapers, hosts not just one, but five species of milkweed — and indeed, there were monarchs and many other pollinators all over the blooming carpet of native flowers. Unfortunately, the roof is not open to the public, but we took many photos in order to be able to share the experience.

 

 

The splendid view from the Chicago City Hall green roof

The splendid view from the Chicago City Hall green roof

 

A dragonfly takes shelter in native grasses

A dragonfly takes shelter in native grasses

 

Looking north from the green roof

Looking north from the green roof, buildings seem to sprout from the garden

 

A native Black Swallowtail rests on the rooftop prairie

A native Black Swallowtail refuels on the rooftop prairie

 

Royal Catchfly and other prairie plants adorn the skyline

Royal Catchfly, Prairie Blazing Star and other prairie flowers adorn the skyline

 

Milkweeds is at the height of its bloom during our visit

Milkweed is at the height of its bloom during our visit

 

Pollinators and prairie plants, including some of our favorites: the white spiky Rattlesnake Master and the brilliant orange Butterfly Weed, a species of milkweed

Pollinators and prairie plants mingle. From left to right, Purple coneflower, the spiky white Rattlesnake Master (what a great name!), Purple Prairie Clover, and brilliant orange Butterfly Weed, a species of milkweed

 

We found the monarchs! and were treated to the special sight of a monarch feeding on milkweed in the middle of downtown Chicago...

We found the monarchs! and were treated to the special sight of a monarch feeding on milkweed in the middle of downtown Chicago…

We hope to see you all at MD/STL where you can participate in our art project and become an agent of positive change for the future of these beautiful butterflies.

Schedule for Milkweed Dispersal Balloons

Wednesday, July 30
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Pulitzer Arts Foundation
3716 Washington Blvd. 
St. Louis, MO 63108

Saturday, August 2
8:00 am – noon
Tower Grove Farmers’ Market

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