Irvin & Gladys: Our Inspiration
Gladys Johnson was a patient gardener and student of all things living. She and her husband Irvin lived in the small town of Clara City, Minn., population 1,106, where they raised three sons.
Gladys had nearly a hundred African violets indoors, but it was outside that her green thumb really shone. A member of a ladies garden club amusingly called The Happy Hoers, she grew many plants in her garden to attract butterflies, including asters, purple coneflowers and Shasta daisies.
Gladys and Irvin especially loved the monarch butterflies that visited their backyard gardens every summer. They would be heartbroken to hear what’s happening to their populations and know they would be proud of our efforts to save them.
Already concerned that the monarch’s habitat was in danger, Irvin and Gladys spent their winter vacations driving their little pop-up camper down to Florida or Texas, planting milkweed seeds in parks and along the roadway.
After Gladys died, Irvin went to Mexico where monarchs hibernate in the winter. There, he planted Oyamel fir trees to shelter the dormant monarchs until they wake in the spring to begin the life cycle once again.
We are inspired by Irvin and Gladys and their efforts to help save the monarch butterfly.
The Save Our Monarch Foundation is dedicated to Irvin and Gladys. We believe that the only way to save our monarchs is the same way they did: getting our fingernails dirty and planting one milkweed plant at a time.
They are my Mom and Dad. May they Rest In Peace.
Founder, Save Our Monarchs