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Lawrence monarch butterfly garden is a community effort

Cara Dever, Patricia Schuh and Liz Masur are spearheading a Lawrence neighborhood's new community monarch butterfly garden.

LAWRENCE, Ind — It's become a summer tradition.

“Every year, I get more and more, and I can’t stop," said Patricia Schuh, who helps raise monarch butterflies in her Lawrence neighborhood. “There’s something magical about it. That’s how I describe it. It brings me joy, but I also feel like every year, it’s magic. When I see the whole transformation, when I see it go from the egg to the butterfly, it’s just amazing what they go through.” 

It started about five years ago when Schuh noticed milkweed growing on the side of her house. After some research, she found out that plant was monarch caterpillar food. 

Schuh’s interest began to grow, and as years went by, others caught on. 

“I have loved insects since I was a young child, and when I was in second grade, I wrote a book called 'The Bug Book.' It just sticks out in my mind," said Schuh's neighbor, Cara Dever.

Credit: WTHR/John Doran
Three women in Lawrence have started a community monarch butterfly garden to raise awareness about the recognizable butterfly species.

Now, it’s a true neighborhood effort with a new community monarch butterfly garden put together by Dever, Schuh and Liz Masur.

“If you can help raise awareness, more people are going to change their habits in their own backyard, and if you can change the habits of one person, I consider myself happy," Schuh said.

“The monarch population has declined significantly in the past couple decades," Dever said. "I think I heard up to 80%. If we continue at that rate, they’re not going to be around much longer.” 

The Lawrence community is helping monarchs and fostering life lessons by raising insects.

“I want to teach them the preciousness of life and protecting all life and to teach them all of life is important, even the tiny things," Dever said. "Seeing the experience through their eyes has definitely brought a renewed passion within me to spread to other people and to help people, what they can do to pollinators like monarchs.”

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