Watching the Lifecycle: Friendship Center’s Monarch Butterfly Project
The past few months have not just been blooming, but metamorphosing at Friendship Center! In March 2022, the Assistance League of Santa Barbara® teamed up with Friendship Center to transform our Sweet Pea Patio garden into an environment designed to raise and release monarch butterflies.
It was quite the process; from getting the proper enclosures, to selecting plants that bees and butterflies love, to getting ladybugs and caterpillars to get the ball rolling. Yet, it was all worth it the first time that members gathered around, each being able to gently hold a newly hatched butterfly, and watch it flutter off into the Santa Barbara sky. We are now constantly watching caterpillars munch away, chrysalises form, and butterflies emerge!
Program Specialist Heather Conrad has a passion for monarchs, especially through how they impact senior citizens. “It’s so fun to see the members’ joy and excitement as they watch the lifecycle of the monarch take place,” Heather says. “It’s a hands-on experience; we let the members hold the monarch and say goodbye to it as we let it out in the world. It is a very empowering and encouraging experience for them.”
Heather leads a weekly group at Friendship Center known as the “Butterfly Brigade” where she teaches members fun facts about butterflies, tends to the garden, and goes on neighborhood walks to find monarchs in nature. As one member says “Raising and releasing monarch butterflies is life affirming!”
We are grateful for the generosity of the Assistance League of Santa Barbara® for making this project happen.