The Butterfly Musketeers was founded in 2013 by Maria Romero based in Christchurch, this started as my curiosity watching this amazing magical life cycle out in my garden each summer with my children. This quickly grew into my passion which now has expanded beautifully and still growing, with help with the community who are also giving up endless amounts of time raising caterpillars in their gardens or in their schools.  My mission is to raise awareness of these beautiful creatures and share with people how much can be learnt from the transformation from caterpillar to Monarch by studying and caring for them. Also getting children to become conscious of their environment around them. I visit schools and share my knowledge, resources, passion, and answer children’s questions on the Monarchs. I help set up community events and give talks on Monarchs.  I also take credit for all my own photos on this website and my Facebook Page.

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I also visit local retirement homes and released newly eclosed Monarchs in their communal gardens for all to see and experience. The butterfly musketeers help Monarchs with broken wings and repair them in our homes so they are able to fly once again. 

I also help by planting nectar flowers and having swan plants around our beautiful gardens to attract Monarchs to lay their eggs on.  Over many summers we have seen so many injured and deformed Monarchs arriving into our gardens, some just old and tired, or some just wanting to spend their last few hours with us. I give them love, some fruit and sugary water to enjoy and a safe place to rest away from predators.

Wasps have been a big problem over the years around New Zealand, we have seen caterpillars being stung with our own eyes which is awful to witness. I have even seen wasps sucking at the chrysalis until it’s dead.  This has shown we have to release the control in our life, by trying to care and save each and every Monarch as for some their journey has come to an end and there’s nothing we can do its just nature doing it’s thing. Monarchs caterpillars/chrysalis are unfortunately a great food source for many insects and birds in the animal kingdom.  Although sad at times, I have learnt that we must not get too attached to our Monarchs. A female butterfly can lay up to 400 eggs in her life so even if two eggs develop into a healthy Monarch that’s progress.

Instead of taking care of sick Monarchs, you can put your energies into growing more swan plants for the Monarchs to lay their eggs on.  For every sick butterfly there are hundreds more many healthy ones flying around doing their job.  We have to be more sustainable, growing swan plants from seeds with love and nurture. Educate the children on the process of metamorphosis, so the  next generation will then have a more caring approach and kindness towards the animal kingdom. We need to help the Monarchs for future generations to see the wonders nature has to offer us so close up. Adult butterflies pollinate flowers and caterpillars eat a large amount of plant material so  they are important in the food chain. 

The Butterfly Musketeer page on Facebook we want to educate and inspire children and adults in the community to care for these endangered species. It’s a great page for butterfly lovers and enthusiasts. The page has helpful ideas and advice which shows that it’s possible for us all to grow great butterfly gardens, plant nectar flowers, attract and feed the butterflies. We want you to enjoy nature and be outside and able to relax by watching the amazing phenomena of the Metamorphosis cycle from the egg to the adult butterfly. People can share their photos, ideas, information, our successes amongst other passionate people. We can also inform you of current stock levels of swan plants in your community for when hungry caterpillars have striped your plants bare.  Please follow us on Facebook for regularly updated information, videos, facts and photos.  By learning about the Monarch butterflies, people will often become interested in bees and other wonderful animals and insects that visit us in our homes and local environment. Children will hopefully become intrigued and will have respect for them, it’s a knock on effect or in my case I would say the butterfly effect! 

Monarchs are great indicators of environmental change, as they are sensitive and have a recognisable appearance.  Many butterfly species in large numbers indicate a healthy environment, a lack of butterflies may indicate a change for the worse. Butterflies and insects are the first to disappear in agricultural areas where there is high pesticide sprays are used.

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