Enchanted: Port Washington woman breeds monarch butterflies in her home
A Port Washington woman is hoping to inspire people to appreciate something fragile and magical and whose populations are dwindling.
Tanya Clusener is singlehandedly helping to grow the dwindling monarch population by breeding thousands of them. For the past 30 years, there has been a steady decline in monarch butterflies.
Scientists blame climate change and habitat loss. Clusener wants more people, especially on Long Island, to appreciate the monarchs.
She breeds the butterflies inside of a spare bedroom. Clusener has monarchs being raised on things like a laundry holder, a table and Q-tips.
Clusener finds the caterpillar eggs, mostly from the side of roads in milkweed plants. They then grow to caterpillars, then form into a chrysalis and then become a beautiful monarch butterfly. After she releases them, they all somehow fly to Mexico.
Clusener does this as a way to escape the world for a little bit.
"I find myself just enchanted. There's something about it that's magical," Clusener said.
Clusener tags all the butterflies so they can be tracked. She then releases them mostly in Nassau County gardens so people can see them fly off.