by L. Todd Spencer | The Virginian-Pilot
MOVING PICTURES | Luck comes to those who prepare. Even for butterfly enthusiasts.
This past summer my family planted milkweed in our back yard, which is the only plant that the monarch caterpillar eats. By late September, the milkweed began to disappear. Caterpillars had arrived. The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is truly wondrous, passing through milestones of molt and chrysalis and emergence. I was lucky enough to document their metamorphosis, and to witness the monarchs’ departure as they began their instinctual migration to Mexico.
But the wonder is in jeopardy as monarch populations are declining at an alarming rate because of decreasing milkweed habitat. If you want to help, and to witness the cycle for yourself, you can grow a little luck of your own by planting locally appropriate species of milkweed in your own yard.