For the third year, residents of Twin Lakes Terrace, Long Term Care, in Sarnia have released painted lady butterflies after spending weeks watching them develop from caterpillars.
Every year the life enrichment team reaches out to a butterfly farm for a shipment of caterpillars and equipment to help the larvae mature.
“The tiny caterpillars are first placed into small clear plastic cups with the supplied food source,” explains life enrichment worker Dorothy Fyfe.
“Residents enjoy naming each of them and then watch them grow – very quickly – into a much larger caterpillar that attaches itself to the paper lid of the container, hanging in a ‘J’ shape.”
The lid and caterpillar are then removed and put into a net cage and safety-pinned to the sides.
This is when the cocoon develops.
Fyfe says changes take place daily. Residents and staff members, she says, “are all amazed at the process.”
The big day comes when butterflies begin to break out of their cocoons.
“This is a beautiful sight to watch,” Fyfe says, adding orange slices are placed in the cage to feed the butterflies until they are ready for release.
Residents, Fyfe says, love watching the butterflies being released into Twin Lakes Terrace’s garden. On release day they gather in the garden. The butterflies emerge from the net cages slowly, some even need to be persuaded. Eventually, they fly out, some landing on residents’ hands to take in a bit of apple juice they put on their fingers. This allows residents to get a closer look at the creatures.
The Twin Lakes Terrace team has also brought in plants for the garden that attract butterflies. When residents see butterflies around the plants after release day, they can’t help but wonder if these are the same ones they helped raise, Fyfe notes.
“Residents love to go for walks in the garden area, and when they see a butterfly it is fun to speculate whether or not it is one of ours,” she says.
This story was provided to the Steeves & Rozema Group by Axiom News and originally appeared on the S&R Today website. Republished with permission.