First monarch of 2015 released in honor of military

At the children’s program, “Letters to Service Members,” which was held in March at the Des Plaines History Center, several kids and adults wrote letters to a unit serving in Afghanistan. Sue Fox McGovern, publicity coordinator at the History Center, sent off a letter with a promise to release a monarch butterfly in honor of the men and women who are currently deployed. A 30-year serviceman responded to McGovern’s letter in April saying that releasing a butterfly is a “very genuine gesture and means a lot.”
The release took place the afternoon of July 3 in the backyard of the Kinder House. McGovern has raised butterflies for 15 years and was thrilled that her first monarch of the season emerged on the day before Independence Day. The photo shows the monarch resting on McGovern's hand.

First red admiral of 2015 is almost full grown!

Our red admiral caterpillar has been eating Pennsylvania pellitory for almost two weeks.

We provide a lot of Pennsylvania pellitory in our container so the red admiral caterpillars can hide if they want to.

Red admirals cats like to silk some leaves together and hide in a shelter as shown here.

We found our first black swallowtail eggs on our dill tonight!

We didn't see the female black swallowtail butterfly, but we can tell she was in our dill garden! Eggs hatch in 3-5 days depending on the weather.

While looking for more  bs eggs, I found a young black swallowtail caterpillar on the dill. Caterpillars eat their host plants for about two weeks and then form a chrysalis.