Louise: On the 24th of June through the generosity of Hearth and Home Assisted Living, where my Mother resides, supplied the Butterfly House at Smiley Park with 40 butterflies of which there were 14 monarchs. They brought the residents to the park so they could assist with the release. There were enough that visitors in the park also got to participate. Most of us are familiar with the beautiful orange and black Monarch butterfly. The rest were Painted Ladies.
|Hearth and Home Release|
|Asclepias Swamp Milkweed|
Monarchs only lay their eggs on and feed from the milkweed. There were, and I counted 87 chrysalis, plus 12 flying Monarchs. It was breath taking.
Sue: I received a call from Louise that same day she is referring to. Of course I had to go out to the park to see for myself and take some pictures (the truth be told she told me to). There were so many caterpillars you had to be very careful not to step on any. The Children's Garden had many visitors that evening, as always, and several wanted to go into the Butterfly House since I was going in. I had to explain to them why they couldn't, but could still observe from the outside.
Louise: Early in the spring plants were planted, thinking we would be prepared for at least a few monarch butterflies. The last few seasons, the entire country had a decreasing population of Monarchs. With chemicals being used for weed control and a virus in Mexico, where they spend their winters, this has taken its toll on this beautiful butterfly. There is a plea for us all to plant milkweed so to have a food supply for them as they make their journey to and from Mexico. They return to the same place each year. Migration is at different times depending what part of the country you live. Here the migration begins in September. Learn more about the migration of the Monarch from PBS's documentary The Flight Of The Monarch.
Since the plants were stripped, we canvased ditch banks to dig milkweed by the bucket full to supply them with food.
This has been very exciting to see first hand the whole process. When the time is right the cat attaches its self to a stable surface. It forms a J position, then forms its chrysalis. In about 10 days to two weeks it emerges as a beautiful Monarch. The butterfly hangs in its wet condition for awhile, while it fills its wings with fluid before it takes flight. There life span is approximately two weeks, few will survive a few months. This new generation will deposit their eggs and life will begin once again. To date we have released more than one hundred Monarch Butterflies into the park. To be sure that they have a good food supply we felt this best. We have been providing, beside the milkweed, watermelon, bananas and oranges.
|Chrysalis and Caterpillar in it's J Position|
Our schools are doing a good job educating our youth about the butterflies. We also do programs at the Butterfly House to educate all who are interested. Again thank you Hearth and Home for supplying the first butterflies.
Louise and Sue