Monarch's Heavenly Journey

Monarch Grove - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Sculpture Unveiling

The City of Chesterfield hosted a community ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiled a new public art installation, “Monarch’s Heavenly Journey,” on the Central Park trail near the entrance to the new Riparian Trail extension at Burkhardt Place on Friday, May 12, 2023.  This new community area, known as Monarch Grove, is funded by the Rob Kilo Family in collaboration and partnership with the City of Chesterfield and the Chesterfield Family YMCA.

Mayor Bob Nation, Pastor Thomas Molini, and Rob Kilo spoke at the event. The event took place on the Friday prior to Mother's Day, which is a celebration honoring mothers and the influence of mothers in society. 
The Chesterfield City Council voted unanimously to accept this Monarch butterfly sculpture from the Rob Kilo family.  Rob’s late Mother, June Kilo, affectionately known as Grammie June to her grandchildren, loved everything about the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Butterfly House.  June loved birds and butterflies, especially the Monarch butterfly.  In memory of her, the Rob Kilo family commissioned and designed a Monarch butterfly sculpture.  Mary Ann Mastorakos, City Council member who served on the City’s Parks Council, stated that the sculpture will be a great addition to our Chesterfield Parks and highlight our commitment to helping pollinators.  The sculpture and Monarch Grove will create a meeting place, reflection area, and midway trailhead for Chesterfield's new Riparian Trail extension.  
Chesterfield’s Mayor Bob Nation recently signed his fourth Mayor’s Monarch Pledge Proclamation encouraging all members of our community, especially families, to help our migrating Monarch butterflies and pollinators.  Planting native wildflower gardens is one of the best ways to help pollinators by providing food, water, cover, and a place to raise young to enhance quality nature for our Chesterfield community.

Rob worked with the sculptor, Glory Hartsfield, to create an original art piece with his direction on overall design and color.  This sculpture will be placed where the Riparian Trail phase 2 & 3 extension exits Burkhardt Place and heads toward the Central Park trail, adjacent to the west side of the Chesterfield Family YMCA.  The sculpture is 9’ in height, with four ornate yellow trellis columns that will converge at the top where a vibrant Monarch butterfly sits atop facing North.  Symbolically, the Monarch emerged from its winter hibernation in the mountains of Mexico and now embarks on its northward journey across the United States.  Monarch Grove also has two ‘Cardinal red' metal art benches, part of Chesterfield’s Living Legacy program.  Cardinals, which were a favorite of June's, have long symbolized a loved one who has passed away.  Some believe that the Cardinal is their loved one, returning for a visit, while others see the Cardinal as a reminder of their dear departed one.  
Jennifer Mullix, Director of the Butterfly House, is excited about the new addition, and shared, "Community gardens, like Monarch Grove, are creating wonderful habitats while also helping to raise awareness of how we can all support monarchs, butterflies, and other pollinators.”  Rob registered Monarch Grove as a 'Monarch Waystation' to reinforce the need to sustain Monarch butterflies by providing milkweed, nectar sources, and nearby shelter.  In addition, Monarch Grove is now registered and recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

The Kilo’s also supported the expansion of the Butterfly House’s Entomology Lab in “Grammie June’s” memory, and recently loaned a sculpture entitled, “Heavenly Connection: Young Woman with Cherub” to the Butterfly House, which will be part of a newly renovated section in their outdoor Native Garden.  
The Riparian Trail extension begins at August Hill Drive, heads north through Central Park, continues across Wild Horse Creek Road and terminates at Old Chesterfield Road.  Rob worked with the City of Chesterfield and Chesterfield Family YMCA to enhance the Riparian Trail with the addition of Monarch Grove. 

About Monarch Grove:
  • Rob Kilo custom designed Monarch Grove, including: 
  • Commissioned and custom designed 9’ Monarch Butterfly sculpture.  
  • Two custom designed 'Cardinal red' benches from Chesterfield’s Living Legacy program.
  • Pollinator gardens designed to look like a side profile of a Monarch Butterfly facing the lake.  
  • Wide paths to accommodate two people side by side, such as with a small child, a support dog, or pushing a stroller.  
  • Native selection of trees, including Wildfire Black Gum, and Cherokee Brave Dogwood.  
  • Numerous native perennial pollinator plants including Milkweed.
  • Seating includes 2 metal benches, 4 natural boulders, and an ADA compliant, wheelchair accessible picnic table that accommodates a wheelchair at either end.  
  • Registered as a Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch. 
  • Registered as a National Wildlife Federation's Certified Wildlife Habitat.
  • Natural boulders selected to be able to sit/lean on them and view the Monarch Grove or the Central Park lake. 
  • Included input for inclusion and adaptive family-friendly environment. ADA wheelchair space created near the sculpture.
About the Rob Kilo family:
Rob & Kathy Kilo, born and raised in St. Louis, have lived in Chesterfield for 17 years.  Their daughter, Caroline, graduated from Marquette High School and is a Sophomore at the University of Arkansas, and their son, Niko, is a Senior at Marquette High School and will be attending Indiana University in the Fall.  Rob Kilo serves as a Ward IV Committee member, and past Co-Chair, on the Chesterfield Parks, Recreation, and Arts Citizens Advisory Committee.  Rob is also an active member in the community, regular attendee of City Council meetings and Chesterfield events, and involved in numerous organizations, including the American Diabetes Association community leadership Board, Ascension’s Knights of Columbus, etc. Rob is an Account Director for Biogen.  In addition, the Kilo family’s backyard, which includes a pollinator garden in his mother’s memory, is recognized as a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.  In memory of his Mother, Rob recently traveled with Natural Habitat Adventures to witness the Monarch butterfly migration in Mexico:  Click to watch a youtube video about Butterfly Migration

About the Sculptor:
Glory Hartsfield is a multimedia artist with an affinity for metalwork in Stella, Missouri.  She submitted her Monarch sculpture, “The Portal to Metamorphosis,” along with another sculpture that were selected by the ‘Missouri Sculpture on the Move’ program. Glory was excited to hear from the Kilo family who was inspired by that sculpture to create and commission a new Monarch butterfly sculpture in their Mom’s memory. Glory has many sculptures on exhibit, including: “Portal to Metamorphosis” on display in Sunset Hills beside their City Hall, “Retro Floral Renovation” on display in Maryland Heights in Quiet Hollow Park, and “Symbiosis” on display in Creve Coeur in LaVerne Collins Park.

About Chesterfield Parks:
The Chesterfield Parks, Recreation & Arts Department is accredited from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA), and only one of only 192 park and recreation agencies accredited, and only one of five in the state of Missouri.  Chesterfield is the first and only National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Community Wildlife Habitat in Missouri. Chesterfield has over 500 acres of developed parkland and over 16 miles of trails. The Riparian Trail is a crushed stone, boardwalk, and paved trail that meanders through the woods, along Chesterfield Creek, and the Chesterfield Central Park lake and trail.  The trail is part of a five-phase plan to construct a pedestrian/bike path which begins near the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center and will extend to Old Chesterfield Road and eventually connecting to the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee Trail.  
Riparian Trail: Click to view Parks Trail Map

Special Thanks (listed alphabetically): 

  • Ascension Parish, Father Thomas Molini
  • Aspire Associates for Behavioral Health, Kelli Unnerstall 
  • Best Value Tree Service, John Brown
  • Chesterfield Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee, Darcy Capstick, Chair 
  • Chesterfield Family YMCA, Jeff Wilson, Senior Program Director 
  • Chesterfield Family YMCA, Sherri Rocklage, Integrated Fitness Program Director 
  • Chesterfield Family YMCA, Tim Peters, Executive Director
  • Chesterfield Historic & Landmark Preservation Committee, Mike Kane
  • Chesterfield Parks, Recreation, and Arts Citizens Advisory Committee
  • City of Chesterfield, Aleah Vose, Senior Arts & Entertainment Specialist 
  • City of Chesterfield, Ann-Marie Stagoski, Executive Assistant Parks, Recreation & Arts Department 
  • City of Chesterfield, Bob Nation, Mayor
  • City of Chesterfield, City Council Members
  • City of Chesterfield, Geoff Wegrzyn, City Arborist / Urban Forester
  • City of Chesterfield, Jason Baucom, Superintendent of Arts & Entertainment
  • City of Chesterfield, Kari Johnson, Superintendent of Recreation
  • City of Chesterfield, Kirstyn Corbett, Communications Specialist
  • City of Chesterfield, Matt Nolting, Parks Maintenance Supervisor
  • City of Chesterfield, Tom McCarthy, Past Director of Parks, Recreation, and Arts
  • City of Chesterfield, Tony Moore, Superintendent of Parks 
  • City of Chesterfield, TW Dieckmann, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Arts
  • Conservation Federation of Missouri
  • Earthworks, Tony Matteoni, Branch Manager
  • Gateway Region YMCA, Jodi Smedley, Community Outreach and Garden Manager 
  • Global Industrial, Richard Pepe, Public Sector Account Manager 
  • Havenwood Cottage, Kathy Arnold
  • Mad Heart Studio, Glory Hartsfield, Sculptor and ‘Sculpture on the Move’ Participant 
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Monarch Watch, Monarch Waystation program 
  • National Wildlife Federation. Certified Wildlife Habitat program 
  • National Wildlife Federation, Darcy Capstick, NWF Steward
  • Natural Habitat Adventures, Daniel Hagaman, Expedition Leader, 2022 Kingdom of the Monarchs
  • Natural Habitat Adventures, Fernando Romo, Expedition Leader, 2022 Kingdom of the Monarchs
  • NHA - The Fab Five: Julie Hughes, Laura Johnson, Velma Kelly, Robert Rosenquist, and Rob Kilo
  • Reed Construction, Donnie Reed
  • Rob Kilo Family: Kathy, Caroline, & Niko Kilo 
  • Sophia M. Sachs, Butterfly House, Brianna Wilson, Horticulture Coordinator 
  • Sophia M. Sachs, Butterfly House, Fred Gauna, Senior Manager, Collections, Education, and Operations
  • Sophia M. Sachs, Butterfly House, Jennifer Mullix, Director
  • St. Louis Composting, Rich Blosser, Marketing Manager 
  • Trellis Art Designs, Diane Sauer, Artist Metal Benches 
  • Wyatt Lawn and Landscaping, Matt Wyatt, Owner