Behind the Scenes
Our Shoot with Monarch Butterflies
February 16, 2021
So, somehow, we never got around to posting our incredible photos from our photoshoot featuring Monarch butterflies….being able to directly observe these butterflies and feel them crawl all over us was nothing short of magical.
Thank you to Alex and Nick for opening up your home for this photoshoot, and teaching us about how individuals can raise Monarchs to help increase their population. Alex and Nick live in Dana Point, California, and they’ve been growing milkweed and raising Monarchs outdoors for over a year, and they kindly opened up their backyard for our photoshoot.
Sometimes it's difficult for individuals to feel like they are creating effective change. Luckily, planting milkweed is one of the easiest ways to help the Monarch butterfly population.
Monarchs migrate from Canada all the way to Mexico, and back. One butterfly can travel for up to 100 miles a day during this time. These beauties provide more than just their looks; they pollinate many wildflowers and they are an important food source for birds and small animals. They also parallel the plight of other species. If butterflies are in trouble, so are other wildlife.
Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed; without this plant they cannot survive due to urbanization and the loss of wild land, which causes their food source to rapidly diminish. Adult monarchs also use milkweed to plant their seeds.
Planting milkweed is one of the easiest ways to feed Monarchs. You can grow milkweed specifically to assist in raising Monarchs, which helps in keeping population levels high. This is what Nick and Alex do: they bring the milkweed into a wooden structure that protects the caterpillars from harm, then after they’ve cocooned and turn into butterflies they release them, counting each monarch that they’ve helped. (Read more about this method here: https://www.instructables.com/How-to-Raise-Healthy-Street-Smart-Monarch-Butterfl/ )
Keep in mind that planting it in your yard works just as well. As we transition into spring, consider buying milkweed and planting it in your garden. It’s a native plant that thrives in Southern California, and you’ll be visited by beautiful Monarchs - seems like a win, win to us.
OC friends: Tree of Life Native Plant Nursery and Dana Point Nursery are two great options to purchase milkweed.
If you don’t live in Southern California, this organization made a map to show you where to buy milkweed near you. Check it out: