Monarch Morning

Saturday morning, Nana called me a little panicked. The hospice where she had been working as a gardener had instructed her to pull out all the milkweed in the gardens, as "it wasn't part of their gardening plan". (This, despite the fact that monarch butterfly habitats are already under siege on all sides) She was doing as instructed, when she found two plants, one with eggs and one with a live caterpillar on it. "I just couldn't throw him on the pile," she told me, "he deserves a chance to live." So she saved the plants, and at nine AM rushed over to my house to find a spot to plant them. The kids were elated that we were being given charge of new creatures, and I quickly googled "how to care for monarch caterpillars indoors". (Seriously, what did people do before the internet??) Mom arrived, and Luca carefully scoured the plant for any eggs, removing nasty aphids and spiders in the process. Sadly, the big caterpillar mom found that prompted all this had fallen off somewhere in transit. But we did find two new hatchlings (later named Lucky and Tiny), and we transferred to mom's mesh cat carrier. Then, as mom was literally walking over to pick up the plants for transplant, a monarch lands on the milkweed and starts laying eggs! Luca then once again went back to scour the plants for more eggs, and found at least two that the monarch had laid.

As a preschool teacher, I couldn't think of a better lesson illustrating how humans are screwing up, what we can do to fix it, and the general beauty of nature. What a magical monarch morning!

Luca and Astrid checking on Lucky and Tiny

Tiny (above), and Lucky (below)

Cat carrier/butterfly habitat!


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