I read this story once about a man walking on a beach. Behind him, at a distance, another man followed. He saw that the man kept bending down, picking something up, walking to the water and bending down again. Puzzled, he hurried to catch up to the man. When he got close, he saw that the man was picking up starfish that had become stranded on the beach and returning them to the water. He noticed that there were MANY starfish on the beach and said to the man, “Wow, that’s a lot of stranded starfish. What difference can you possibly make–there are SO MANY!” The man bent down, picked up a starfish, set it in the ocean and said, “To that one it makes a big difference!”
I want to share a story about someone I met recently who also is making a big difference. If you’ve been following along, you likely have read some of my blog posts from this summer about my experiences raising Monarchs and my triumphs in getting some of their valuable habitat protected.
Well the other day I got a call from a woman named Sara, whom I’d never met but who had gotten my phone number from a man at one of the places where I spend time doing photography. She is passionate about helping Monarch butterflies too, raising them just as I did. Except instead of 25, she has 300! Like me, she knows that in nature the caterpillars have many, many obstacles to overcome.
Most of the challenges go away when you remove the caterpillars from the field. They won’t be eaten. They won’t be parasitized (unless this already happened. Read about this HERE) They won’t fall off the plant and become lost. They won’t run out of Milkweed. Their field won’t be mowed.They won’t be poisoned by pesticides or herbicides.
The field that Sara had been using to collect Milkweed suddenly became unavailable to her, leaving her in a predicament as she has many caterpillars that she is responsible for feeding. Without her and the leaves she provides, they will die.
She contacted me hoping I could help. I contacted the owner of that Milkweed field on my road that I spoke of in an earlier post. He whole-heartedly gave us the green light to collect all the Milkweed leaves we needed. This means that all of Sara’s caterpillars will have a dependable food supply and will then make it to adulthood and join the millions of other monarchs on their migration to Mexico.
Woo hoo, what a victory for the Monarchs!!
I admire Sara and her infectious enthusiasm for Monarch butterflies. Raising Monarchs is a lot of work and requires a lot of time between cleaning out their containers and collecting leaves. With 300 it’s practically a full-time job. And though there’s no one to thank her and offer appreciation for her efforts, she does it all with a smile, confident her actions will make a difference. And to each and every one of those 300+ that she has, she IS making a tremendous difference! They can’t thank her, but I will!
Thank you, Sara for giving those butterflies a free ticket to becoming adults.
I spent a morning recently in the field collecting Milkweed leaves with Sara, her boyfriend, Pete, along with Sara’s friend Steph, Steph’s husband and their daughter, who are also raising butterflies (Thank you also!). Sara brought a net full of newly emerged butterflies to release, which we gently placed on 5 year old Eva–much to her absolute delight!
As we moved around collecting leaves, the butterflies took off when they were ready, flying for the first time.
What a great moment when that happens! Imagine what it would be like to fly for the first time!
We all cheered joyfully, shouting things like”Good luck!” or “Safe travels!” as the butterfly disappeared into the sky. So many challenges lie ahead for them now as they make their way to a place that they’ve never been.
It was a joyous event and all morning all that I could think was “HA! So I’m not the only one who does this!” Amazing how paths cross and we know instantly when we’ve met a kindred spirit. (This makes me think of another quote .) It is so refreshing to meet other people who are also passionate about Monarchs and helping them carry on (Read what YOU can do to help Monarchs)…
Who have you been inspired by lately? If you’d like to share, use the comment box below; it’s always fun to hear from my readers!