|In 2017, a friend gave Kelly and her daughter, Matilda, a monarch chrysalis to tend. "After watching our butterfly emerge we were in complete awe! There's nothing quite like it. After that, we got How to Raise Monarch Butterflies by Carol Pasternak, and started learning about how to raise them, which led us down a learning path I never could have imagined!"
Kelly lives in Grosse Pointe Park with her husband Steve, daughter Matilda, two cats, a bearded dragon, parakeet, frogs and the most recent additions to the family, Iberian ribbed newts. Twelve year old, Matilda loves animals and aspires to be a veterinarian one day.
Kelly's background includes a CDA Infant and Toddler credential, BA in Fine Arts (MSU) and a Nature Based Teaching Certification. When the pandemic hit, she made the decision to home school Matilda rather than have her attend "Zoom school." In summer, 2020, they started a project they called The Detroit Butterfly Nursery. "We were inspired to start a pollinator garden in our backyard to help save the Monarch Butterfly, but it was through the discovery of the many different species we were also attracting and supporting that opened our eyes to the importance of native plants and biodiversity! We started documenting garden visitors, noticing how they interact and support each other. The number of species grows every year with each new planting! It's been amazing to watch!"
They have added their pollinator garden to the Homegrown National Park. (You can too!)
As their native garden grew and expanded, they began to reach out to the surrounding community, hoping to create more awareness about pollinators and restoring native plants to the landscape. They focus on education and citizen science projects and have a booth full of hands-on activities and live creatures at various festivals and events. They've also done presentations for community and school groups.
Kelly serves on the Sustainability and Conservation Committee for the city of Grosse Pointe Park and recently she took on a leadership role in supporting Mayor Michele Hodges in re-signing the NWF Mayors Monarch Pledge for 2023. She'll serve as a liaison between the City and the NWF as they work to complete and document their action items for the pledge. One more City committed to help save the Monarch Butterfly thanks to the passion and dedication of citizens!
1,000's HOURS OUTSIDE
In addition to the Monarch advocacy, pollinator and native garden work, she is also actively involved with the "1000 Hours Outside" project. Kelly describes it as "a global movement, started by a Michigan mom, that encourages families to match screen time with green time!" As part of this project, she has worked with her local library to share information about the benefits of simply spending time together outside and to plan outdoor experiences for the community with events like monthly neighborhood walks and community outdoor science projects.
"I'm a lifelong resident of Southeast Michigan and love that we get to experience the beauty and magic of all four seasons! Each one brings something unique. I'm learning to love winter and all of the secrets nature reveals to us during that season."
When we asked Kelly what her dreams and goals are, she responded:
"I intend to continue planting seeds, literally and figuratively! My Goal is to impact the way people in our community think about nature and the outdoors. Invite them to look closer and notice how their actions make an impact. To be a resource for families, while shining a light on the biodiversity crisis. The need to connect with nature is more important now than ever. And to inspire children we need to also reach their grown ups."
What does Kelly enjoy most when she has some leisure time? "I love painting, photography and reading!"
Some resources that Kelly and Matilda have found to be most valuable in their work have been:
PARTNERSHIP WITH ROCHESTER POLLINATORS
Last summer she collaborated with us to have an information booth at the Blake's Lavender Festival. We have truly enjoyed getting to know and working with Kelly, Matilda and Steve and look forward to our continued partnership with Kelly in this important work to help save pollinators and other living things through native habitat restoration.
Kelly Konieczki, Thank you
for all that you do to help save pollinators!!
We have no doubt that Kelly will continue to touch people with her enthusiasm and passionate advocacy for the natural world
by helping people, young and old, fall in love with it!
You can follow the Detroit Butterfly Nursery:
on Facebook @Momcat Kelly
and on Instagram @detroitbutterflynursery