by Isabella Leo, staff writer
Everyone talks about the beautiful butterflies they see in the spring, and how they make everyone’s day. Beyond their beauty they even benefit the world by pollinating plants and aiding scientists in discovering the health of an environment. However, these butterflies, at least Monarchs, are in trouble.
Since the 1990s, the Monarch population has faced a drastic decline, and many scientists feared that they would go extinct. Though the Monarch population has grown over the past two years, this beautiful butterfly is still endangered. But do not worry, there are many ways you can help them.
To help the population grow, you can of course donate to corporations that specialize in saving and raising the Monarch butterflies. There are many places that you can find online, this includes Save Our Monarchs (https://www.saveourmonarchs.org/), Monarch Joint Venture (https://monarchjointventure.org/), and more.
If you are an individual that loves planting, you also have the ability to plant flowers that the butterflies love. As communicated by a Monarch Butterfly Garden article, the flowers that could be planted include Milkweed, Zinnia, Mexican Sunflowers, Agastache ‘Ava’, Callistemon, Brazilian Verbena, and Dwarf Butterfly bushes. Beyond these flowers there are many more species that attract Monarchs, and the above flowers, along with others, even act as ideal places in which they can lay their eggs.
On the Monarch butterfly garden site, they also describe the heartfelt meanings that may stand behind creating a butterfly garden, and that the gardens are as much for you as they are for the butterflies. An example of this being when Tony Gomez, a writer for the site states that “Many butterfly gardens are created as lasting tributes to someone special that is no longer with us…Butterflies represent positive transformation and freedom…the souls of the dearly departed fluttering in to say hello…” Not only do these meanings help you with coping and bettering yourself but they also aid in saving the Monarchs, a way to grow with friends by your side.
During the spring season one can raise the Monarch butterflies at home, with butterfly kits and caterpillars that can easily be bought online, such as on Amazon. By following 3 – 4 simple steps you can take care of Monarchs on your own and help in the re-population process, just as I have done.
The steps are as follows:
- When you receive your caterpillars, you can keep them in their container as long as they have food in there with them, but if there is no food in the container then you must take them out and put them into a butterfly cage (The cage is in the image on this article). From that point you must wait till they have formed their chrysalis.
- Once their chrysalis is formed then you must carefully take them out of the container and string them to the top of your butterfly cage. If you already have your Caterpillars in the cage, then you do not have to worry or follow this part.
- By the time that they emerge from their chrysalis’s you just have to create a sugar and water mixture, in which you would place in a flat dish or on a paper towel for them to eat.
- Finally, when their wings are expanded, and the weathers nice you are able to set them free.
After this process, the butterflies that you raised may even come back to visit you, to say thank you for all that you have done. If you still have those flowers they love and keep raising butterflies every Spring, you will always be greeted with visitors. You will be greeted with them telling you and the rest of the world the same thing year by year, that “The littlest things matter, we matter.”
Contributors: Monarch Butterfly Garden; https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/5-butterfly-flowers-attract-monarchs-and-hummingbirds/
*The featured photo is by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash