When you go on your first caterpillar hunt, you start your journey towards becoming a Junior Crusader for the Monarchs. The Junior Crusader Club has levels of achievement, just like there are for swimming skill levels, Boy/Girl Scouts badges, and Karate belts. One day, you will be able to share your achievements with others on this site, and receive rewards, like certificates, badges, and t-shirts. For now, enjoy the experience of raising your monarch and taking photographs. Then, take the next steps to save the world for monarchs. You will be all set to write in for your rewards when they become available!
Here’s how to climb the Crusader ladder: The first five levels of achievement are instars. An instar is the period of time between caterpillar molts. When a monarch emerges, it is in its first instar. At the end of its 5th instar, it molts for the last time and becomes a chryalis. You will reach your 4th Instar by raising a monarch and photographing it. For your 5th Instar, you’ll need to do something outside your house. The level of Chrysalis requires you to become an advocate. An advocate is someone who speaks on behalf of another person or thing. You will need to speak to governments or corporations to protect the monarch. If you actually succeed, or if you make a difference in your community, you will be a Sky Dancer! You will soar with the monarchs! Will you be the one to meet this challenge? Or will you dedicate your volunteer time to another important cause?
- 1st Instar
- Find an egg, or find a caterpillar.
- 2nd Instar
- Release your first healthy adult monarch.
- 3rd Instar
- Photograph the complete metamorphosis: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, adult.
- 4th Instar
- Photograph the ‘pupa dance’, and the birth of the adult.
- 5th Instar
- Do a school or club project on monarchs, make a presentation, or create a decoration for your school.
- Plant a butterfly garden at home.
- Write a letter to the editor or a corporation explaining the plight of the monarch. Raise awareness of monarchs in your community. Advocate for the planting of milkweed and butterfly gardens, the protection of habitat, or the reduction of pesticides affecting the monarch.
- Sky Dancer
- Organize a fundraiser for monarchs, or gardens.
- Organize a butterfly garden at your school, a workplace, any apartment or condominium, or public place.
- Succeed in influencing a company or government to do something positive for the monarch.
What do you think? Send me your comments and suggestions. Keep your ears open for people who can help me get the word out, or sponsor the rewards.