By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger, Editors at TropicanaForum.com
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.
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.
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 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.