Monarch foster Mom experience!!

I filmed a segment for WVIZ’s NewsDepth Spot on Science which will air later this month. For the segment, I had the fortune of ‘borrowing’ some friends monarch caterpillars and chrysalis. Amazing what you can find on facebook groups. The timing could not have been more perfect and I was so excited to see nature transform before my eyes. Three of the caterpillars turned in a chrysalis, I caught one on video. It happens so fast – within 10 minutes – done!

Monarch caterpillar turning into a chrysalis

Then, another already formed chrysalis eclosed at my desk at work. Eclose is to emerge as an adult from the pupa or as a larva from the egg. I figured I should start using the right terminology since I was their foster Mom for a few days.

Monarch butterfly eclosing from a chrysalis

I was touting how I had a girl, but it turns out I was wrong. It was a boy. You can tell by the dots on the wings when they open them. I mistakenly thought the dots would be on both sides. So my girl was a boy. Either way, I was elated. It took him a bit to pump fluid into his wings and then to dry. In a couple hours, he was ready for release.

Thankfully we installed a pollinator garden across the street from our office and all staff went out to say goodbye and good luck to our friend. And yes, I was calling him Sweet Nugget. You can tell I have pets. That little sweet nugget is on his way to the mountains of Mexico right now.

Monarch release

For more information on the amazing monarch – see Kelly’s blog from a couple weeks ago.

How can you help?

A reminder that it’s time to collect and bring in your Common Milkweed pods!!


  • To collect the seed pods from a Common Milkweed plant it is best to pick them when they are dry and gray or brown in color. If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked. You can prevent the rest from popping open by gently putting a rubber band around them.
  • Do not pick them when they are green - the seeds will not be viable.
  • Collect pods into paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Avoid using plastic bags because they attract moisture.
  • Please mark on the sack: the county in which the Common Milkweed pods came from and the date collected.
  • Store pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver to the closest pod collection area.

Drop Common Milkweed pods off between 8:30am - 4:30pm to:
Cuyahoga SWCD
3311 Perkins Ave, Suite 100
Cleveland, OH 44114

After Hours: Leave them in the drop off bin located on the west side of the building by garage door - off E. 33rd St.

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