Tropicaner wants to save monarchs, and it isn’t Queen Elizabeth II.

This monarch butterfly was hatched today on Flamingo Drive in Tropicana Park and then released by John Barber.   All photos by Eileen Goldfinger.12/28/20


By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger, Editors at


John Barber tours his gardens with Eileen Goldfinger as they discuss his monarch project.


John Barber is a Canadian who spends half the year in Tropicana. He loves to garden and now he has embarked on a new challenge: trying to save the monarch butterfly species.

These creatures  gather in huge flocks and are found around the world.  They travel  south in massive numbers each winter, sometimes up to 3,000 miles towards California and Mexico.

But their numbers have been declining in a major way because their one source of food, the milkweed plant, is being destroyed largely due to the incursion of man and the use of toxins such as insecticides.

Eileen grew milkweed in her New Jersey garden this past summer.  She did attract some monarchs.  There are a variety of milkweed species.

Eileen’s milkweed from her garden in NJ.


John bought some milkweed plants at Home Depot and set up a monarch shelter indoors.   The milkweed plants are outdoors and they attract the monarch butterflies which lay eggs under the leaves.  Then the eggs mature into caterpillars which he brings into the shelter where they form a chrysalis.  This stage in the life of a monarch matures in a matter of weeks into a butterfly.


John created a shelter for the caterpillars. There they spin a chrysalis.



This caterpillar is shown with a chrysalis.

The newly hatched  butterfly  is released.  Last year John released 32 monarchs.  This year it’s 7 so far. We witnessed one flying off today from John’s monarch sanctuary.


John has trained this one to sing “Swanee.”   After this, the newly released butterfly flits around John’s car port and onto plants in the garden. It lands on John’s leg, and he picks it up carefully by folding the wings together. Then it decides to fly away.

John has encouraged other Tropicana residents to do the same in a grass roots effort to help the species.   If anyone is interested in learning more about this fascinating hobby, contact John Barber at 239 985 0391 in Tropicana.


“THE BUTTERFLY:” From the Broadway show Zorba.




One thought on “Tropicaner wants to save monarchs, and it isn’t Queen Elizabeth II.

Comments are closed.