Volunteers to plant Monarch butterfly sanctuary along white river


Media Contact: 
Ashley Haynes
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc.


c: 317-793-2871


Volunteers to Plant Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary along the White River 
Native planting project and Día de los Muertos celebration to raise awareness about pollinator habitat and river preservation

INDIANAPOLIS – (October 26, 2017) Amid Day of the Dead celebrations, volunteers will help create a monarch butterfly sanctuary along the Urban Wilderness Trail in White River State Park on Saturday, November 4.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) is partnering with The daVinci Pursuit, Reconnecting to Our Waterways, Indiana Wildlife Federation, White River State Park and the Indiana Urban Wilderness Trail to remove invasive species and plant thousands of plants that support the endangered monarch butterfly. This trail, in recognition of its dedication to preserving natural habitat, is the first to be designated a Gold Level (Conservation Champion) Certified Sustainable Trail by the Indiana Wildlife Federation.

Project volunteers will be joined by Nopal Cultural and SENSE Charter School students, staff and families for a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration to raise awareness of the significance of the monarch butterfly. In Mexican culture, monarch butterflies represent the spirits of loved ones who have passed away. The celebration coincides with the monarch butterfly’s annual 3,000-mile migration journey south to central Mexico.

Everyone in the community is invited to help KIB plant milkweed (plants vital to the monarch’s existence) and learn about the ecological and cultural significance of this planting and the butterflies. Volunteers are still needed and can sign up at www.kibi.org/projects.


  • WHEN: Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 8:45 a.m. to noon
  • WHERE: Indiana Urban Wilderness Trail’s Grassland Zone & Nature Overlook
    • Located in White River State Park, east of the White River, south of West New York Street, south of Carroll Stadium
  • WHAT: Community planting of over 2,600 pollinator-friendly native plants and shrubs along the Indiana Urban Wilderness Trail with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful in conjunction with a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) monarch celebration with SENSE Charter School. These plants, most of which support the endangered monarch butterfly, will create a beautiful new wildlife sanctuary.
  • HOW: Sign up to volunteer at www.kibi.org/projects. Select the Monarch Sanctuary Planting project listing.
  • WHO: Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Urban Wilderness Trail, Reconnecting to Our Waterways, Indianapolis Wildlife Federation, The daVinci Pursuit, White River State Park, SENSE Charter School, Indiana DNR, Butler University, Indy Parks, Nopal Cultural


  • Project kick-off and remarks – 9:00 a.m.
    • David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
    • Katie Robinson, director of sustainability for the City of Indianapolis
    • Eduardo Luna, Nopal Cultural
    • SENSE Charter Glee Club to perform
  • Volunteers separate into work groups – 9:30 a.m.
    • Volunteers to plant monarch sanctuary with Indiana native Swamp Milkweed, Lavender Hyssop, Purple Joe Pye Weed, Rough Blazing Star and Yellow Coneflower
    • SENSE Charter School Environmental Investigators Club to participate
  • Día de los Muertos celebration hosted by SENSE Charter School – 9:00 a.m. to noon
    • SENSE Glee Club to provide entertainment
    • SENSE Charter School staff and families to provide décor and art activities
  • Four local scientists on site to educate volunteers as they work and document wildlife – 9:00 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    • Travis Ryan, Ecologist at Butler University
    • Brittany Swinford, Naturalist and Director at Indy Parks Eagle Creek Park
    • Tomas Swinford, Naturalist with the Indiana DNR
    • Becky Dolan, Botanist at Butler University

This high-visibility native landscape is part of a commitment by KIB, Reconnecting to Our Waterways, Indiana Wildlife Federation and The daVinci Pursuit as part of a group selected to receive funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust for projects that will improve the White River. The grantee organizations, collectively known as the Partners for the White River, hope their combined efforts will result in greater prosperity — in matters of health and safety, quality of life, environment, economics and enjoyment — for the communities and wildlife that rely on this priceless natural resource.

About Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB)
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. is a private nonprofit organization with a mission to engage diverse communities to create vibrant public places, helping people and nature thrive. In 2016, KIB worked with nearly 20,000 volunteers on over 892 community projects. To learn more, visit www.kibi.org, or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @kibiorg.

About Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust (NMPCT)
The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust was established upon the death of Nina Mason Pulliam in 1997 to support the causes she loved in her home states of Arizona and Indiana. The Trust seeks to help people in need, protect animals and nature, and enrich community life in metropolitan Indianapolis and Phoenix. Since its inception, the Trust has distributed more than $283 million. For more information, visit www.ninapulliamtrust.org.