Growing up on a farm in Michigan, I have been interested in outdoor activities all my life.  Gardening, birding, watching butterflies, and hiking are some of my hobbies.  I am available to present programs on native plants, birds, or butterflies and to lead nature hikes.

Anne Parmley, anne.parmley@gmail.com

Metropolis Garden Club President

Garden Clubs of Illinois, State and District VII,  Bees, Birds, & Butterflies Chair

Master Naturalist

Founding Member of the Massac Nature Study Society

Friends of the Cache River Watershed Member

Shawnee Chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society Member

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Metropolis Garden Club:  A tour of the Murray State University Greenhouse and Arboretum is scheduled for Wednesday, June 26, at 10 a.m.  Please meet at the Metropolis Community Center at 8:45 am to carpool.  We will have a talk by Horticulturalist Dava Hayden, followed by the tour.  Please bring your own lunch including your beverage.  We have reserved an air-conditioned room for our lunch.  You are welcome to bring guests.  Please let me know how many are going and if you are planning to meet us to carpool by June 24th.

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The Massac Nature Study Society will meet on Saturday, June 29, at 9:30 a.m. at the Parmley Farm, 1123 Country Club Road, Metropolis.  We will take a nature walk to see what's blooming in the pollinator field and what creatures we can find.  Please bring lawn or camp chairs for the talk after our walk.  Anyone with an interest in nature is welcome to attend.

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Description of the Parmley Pollinator Field and its background:  I have always been a fan of wildflowers.  After taking the master naturalist course in 2013, I became obsessed with native plants.  My home gardens were soon filled with obedient plants, orange, purple, and gray-headed coneflowers, Joe-Pye weed, various sunflowers, cardinal flower, and many types of milkweeds.  At this point, I still wanted to do more.  My husband and I own and live on 20 acres of rural farmland.  About 15 acres of that had traditionally been in crops – you know the routine:  corn one year, soybeans the next.  We decided that we wanted to break that cycle.

In the fall of 2017, we came across a program that helped us do just that.  The USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program was designed to assist private landowners in improving habitat on their lands.  After months of waiting for approval, we planted our pollinator field in late winter 2018.  USFWS provided 10 acres of Pollinator Plus seed and 3 acres of Tall Grass Prairie seed.  We provided 2 acres of Wetland seed and labor.  Their biologist Nick George also provided guidance, a seeder, and assistance with the planting.  We are now into the sixth growing season and have seen over 30 species of forbs in bloom as well as several grasses, notably Indian grass, switch grass, and both big and little bluestem.

Our pollinator field has certainly added to the variety and numbers of wildlife on our farm.  We have seen over 140 species of birds, 10 species of frogs and toads, and a wide variety of bees, butterflies, and other insects.  Not everyone has 20 acres to play with, but no matter what size yard, you can add to wildlife diversity by planting more native plants.

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Recommended Gardening Practices for Butterflies 

•Avoid purchasing any plants treated with neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides used widely on farms and in urban landscapes. They are absorbed by plants and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to bees and butterflies/caterpillars.

•Plant both larva food plants (mostly natives) and nectar plants.

•Avoid spraying insecticide on any flowering plants or any larva food plants.

•Provide a wet spot in dirt or sand for butterflies that like to “puddle.”

•Plant a monarch waystation with milkweed and nectar plants for monarch butterflies. shop.monarchwatch.org has more information.


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Some of my favorite links:

Butterfly Links

Metropolis Garden Club

District VII, Garden Clubs of Illinois, Inc.

Garden Clubs of Illinois, Inc.  Be sure to look at all the information about pollinators.  Just click on Special Projects, then Planting for Pollinators.

National Garden Clubs, Inc.

Shawnee Chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society

Illinois Audubon Society

Southern Illinois Wildflower Map  This will open in a browser but might not show up in the maps app.

A local source for native plants is Southernwood Gardens, phone: 618 833 2769 or 697 3798, located at 4650 Rhine Rd, Alto Pass, IL.  Look for them on Facebook.

North American Butterfly Association

revised June 7, 2024.