Something funny happened after Project New Leaf got underway last spring. A small mountain was born.

As the Ecological Pond Garden was being created, surplus soil was relocated from the gardens to the area just south and west of the First Division Museum. And lots of it. Before long there was a quite a pile–enough to create a scenic, panoramic view of Cantigny Golf.

Park visitors are not able to enjoy the newly created view just yet because it’s within the Project New Leaf construction zone. But in 2018 the new Butterfly Hill might become a favorite destination for walkers and perhaps others who might wonder, What’s over the hill?

The answer, of course, is Cantigny Golf, which until now has never been easily viewed from the confines of Cantigny Park. From the summit of Butterfly Hill, named for the massive butterfly-shaped flower bed near the first green of Lakeside hole No. 1, some park visitors may actually set eyes on the golf course for the very first time.

Matt LaFond, the park’s executive director, says the creation of Butterfly Hill was a bit of an accident, or at least a surprise. But it didn’t take him or the Cantigny horticulture department long to realize that it could be a new attraction for guests. When construction around the area is complete, the hill will be nicely landscaped with native plantings.

A walking path and benches will be added, too–perfect amenities for taking in a view that simply didn’t exist before Project New Leaf.

For golfers, the butterfly bed on Lakeside No. 1 is a favorite landmark.

Even now, Joy Kaminsky sees beauty, in a symbolic kind of way. The director of horticulture notes that Butterfly Hill only exists because of Cantigny’s efforts to improve stormwater management and the purity of water exiting the park.

“We don’t just move dirt around,” Kaminsky said. “We work hard to be responsible stewards. Project New Leaf has an important environmental side to it.”

Posted by Jeff Reiter

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