September 18, 2013

Seniors planting seeds of hope

PLATTSBURGH — A plot planted with milkweed for future monarch butterflies enables Thelma Douglas and Bertha Pavone to make a difference at the Samuel F. Vilas Home.

Scott Farquhartson, a Vilas employee, dug and constructed the plot and planted seeds. The seeds came from the Saranac Lake-based ADK Action as part of its Monarch-butterfly project.

“When I read in the Press-Republican there was an organization called ADK Action that was petitioning the highway officials to not mow between certain dates in order to protect a growth of milkweed, I said, ‘Oh my goodness, there is somebody who is really doing something,’” said Douglas, a retired educator.

“And if I was 20 years younger, that’s exactly what I would be out doing — what they’re doing. So when things progressed around here, and we were hearing more and more from people out in the fields ... that they were seeing no monarchs and that there was very little milkweed, I went back to my old days when I did that pillow (accented with a monarch).”

Forty years ago, Douglas raised a monarch at her Tremblay Avenue home in the city.

“The blessed event happened when I was having a yard sale where everybody in the neighborhood that was out at the yard sale saw the butterfly come out of the chrysalis,” she said. “So that’s all you need to get excited about monarchs. I’ve always been interested in monarchs. And then my sister in Oklahoma one year, I think raised something like 15 different butterflies from the larva stage because she got inspired by a lady who wrote a book called ‘How to Raise a Monarch Butterfly: The Caterpillar Caregiver Handbook.’ This lady (author Mary C. Thorne) is from Wisconsin, and she is a friend of my sister’s because they spend winters in Texas. I ordered some of the books. And Bert (Pavone) and a half-dozen people in Thelma’s Corner have read them and got each other all excited talking about them.”

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