The Monona Butterfly Garden is filled with flowers, plants and animals. About 13 years ago, it was overrun with weeds and an eye sore in the community.
The garden visitors see today is the vision of Jim Langhus.
Langhus and his children spent their summers tagging monarch butterflies.
"In 1998, the kids were down here and noticed monarchs were gathering in the trees and roosting," said Langhus. "So we began trying to preserve it for the monarchs."
The Monona Butterfly Garden is located at 600 Davis Street, across from the school bus barn and the swimming pool in Monona.
The ball got rolling in 1999, when the land was given to the city of Monona to be used as a butterfly sanctuary.
Thanks to a couple of grants the following year, Langhus and others involved began landscaping and building a trail in order to, he said, "make the community look better."
In 2001, a butterfly garden committee was formed. With the help of grants, the garden continues to grow.
Langhus said the best time to see butterflies is when the prairie flowers bloom, which is typically around July. Even if you don't come across any butterflies, there's still plenty to see.
"It's brought a lot of people something to enjoy," said Jim Langhus.
While Langhus spearheaded this project, he said it took many volunteers to develop it and still requires volunteers to maintain it.
"The more people who volunteer, the better a community functions," he said. "The quality of life is what we're talking about."
Langhus and other volunteers spend anywhere from 100-200 hours each at the garden every summer. Langhus can do it all, from maintaining the trails to planting to weeding.
People in the community said Langhus is the reason this butterfly garden is an attraction in Monona, but Langhus said it's been a community effort.
"This garden is not a 'me' thing, it's a 'we' thing," he said. "So many people have given so much time -- they need to be recognized."
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