Gwiazda Family to Release 400 Butterflies
UPDATE 9-21-18: 600 BUTTERFLIES RELEASED
“When we started raising butterflies, our original goal was to get to 100. It escalated quickly to 400 and just kept on going. In the wild only about 60 out of those 600 would have made it to become a monarch, so I think we’ve more than done our part to help bring these guys back from extinction,” said Melissa. “We only hope they have a shot now at making it to where they need to go. It’s hard to imagine 600 butterflies, but they are out there and I smile now every time I see one and wonder if it’s one of ours.”
Melissa and James Gwiazda, along with their two young daughters, are well on their way to releasing 400 monarch butterflies by the end of the summer.
Urban development, lack of milkweed, and pesticides are all factors in the monarch butterfly’s decline. With the monarch population dwindling to dangerous levels, they are doing their part to save them and are hoping to educate other people to be able to do the same.
“It’s a fun thing to do and definitely a learning experience for everyone involved,” said Melissa. “We started saving them 3 years ago. Our first year I believe we only released 20. Last year we released 72. We were hoping for a goal of 100 this year but have gone far beyond that!”
The family finds caterpillars, or caterpillar eggs, and brings them home to raise them in old fish tanks. They currently have five tanks in operation.
“We feed them and clean the tanks daily,” said Melissa. “It’s definitely work, but the end results are so worth it!”
The family releases the butterflies in their yard and at local parks and nature preserves. Near the end of summer, butterflies will migrate to Mexio to hibernate before returning to the Midwest.
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