Butterflies Are Not Free

When we moved to Florida, 7 years ago, we saw only a few Monarch butterflies over the entire year.  I did some research and discovered that in the last 20 years, the Monarch butterfly population has dropped by 90%! Can you imagine never seeing another Monarch?  I couldn't bear to think about it. This is due to habitat destruction, giving them no place to breed.  So I bought a milkweed plant and put it on my patio.  Within days, I had Monarch eggs.
I've been doing this for 3 years, adding extra plants every year, and have raised around 1000 butterflies on my little patio.  But I need help to save our Monarchs. The caterpillars are voracious eaters and it's hard to keep up.  The plants are destroyed in no time and it's hard for them to regenerate before they are devoured again.  

The problem is, I'm 65 years old and living with multiple sclerosis on a very limited income.  I want to start a real Monarch sanctuary in my backyard.  My plan is to put up two small greenhouses, which will be the bulk of the expense.  One is to raise the caterpillars, giving them a safe place to grow and pupate until they can emerge and be released.  The other will be a place to keep the plants while they regenerate, as well as start new plants from cuttings or seeds.  Besides the two structures, I'll also need big pots, lots of potting soil, organic fertilizer and the ability to replace the severely damaged plants with new ones.  I need to get going as quickly as possible as I am seeing more butterflies searching for food every day. 
This project has been very important to me over the last three years.  Since I don't drive, I have little social life and this has been one of my few sources of true joy.  But most of all, Monarchs are important, they aren't just beautiful, but are scientific indicators of habitat loss, fragmentation and climate change.   It is up to all of us to make an effort to leave the world a little better for our being here and this is my way of doing that.  Please help me save our most beautiful butterfly by supporting my project.


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Jeanne Megel 
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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