Greetings from the farm!
You may be well aware that the Monarch Butterfly population has been declining rapidly over the last several decades. Monarchs are not only beautiful insects, but are very important pollinators. There has been a great deal of activity in encouraging land owners to restore their natural habitats and feeding grounds, namely in the source of milkweed.
On our farm, we not only raise food for our community, but also find it very important to care for and steward our God given resources. We have set areas of our land aside to manage for natural plant and wildlife habitat.
For the last several years my children and I have spent a good part of our late summers raising Monarch butterflies to release. We hike around our farm's natural areas and collect the Monarch caterpillars from our milkweed plants. The caterpillars and milkweed leaves are placed in our butterfly enclosure and cared for daily until the beautiful butterflies emerge. They are then carefully released for their amazing journey for their 6,000+ mile migration south for the winter.
After several years of doing this we still find this God designed process of metamorphosis amazing. We continue to learn more and more about the biological process each year. It is also a good way to provide stewardship for our natural resources and learn about the importance of native plants and pollinators.