The NENA Butterfly Garden is located at the corner of Ann Street and Douglas Avenue in the northeast neighborhood. Formally a vacant lot, volunteers and local residents worked with the City of Elgin to create a natural, tranquil, and butterfly friendly space for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. The project was built in 2008, and funded through a Neighborhood Improvement Grant and through generous donations from private individuals, local businesses and service organizations.
Butterflies and moths (both belonging to the Lepidoptera family) are among the pickiest eaters on our planet. The monarch butterfly will lay her eggs only in milkweed plants (Asclepias spp). Which is why our garden is stocked with a healthy patch of common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, as well as Asclepias tuberosa (pretty, orange-flowered butterfly weed). The monarch caterpillars feed only on Asclepias as they fatten from 3mm to more than 10 cm in size. The fragrant blooms of Asclepias provide nectar to adult monarchs as well as many other species of butterflies. Other lucky larvae can feast on parsley, dill, and broccoli at a patch dedicated just for them.