Stella Niagara Preserve – Releasing the Monarchs


Last Tuesday I was at a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for…

the historic Stella Niagara Preserve by the Western New York Land Conservancy. Many dignitaries attended in support of its natural, wildlife habitat and the scenic beauty of the newly acquired 29 acres along the Niagara River.

I was there with the Lewiston Garden Club, one of the many donors to the WNY Land Conservancy project. Take a tour of the property on the Stella Niagara project and what they are protecting on Nature and Wildlife Pics.


After the dignitaries and speakers finished, the Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm released Monarchs to the meadows of the new nature preserve. The images in this post are butterflies at release. As you can image, not much happens with a release other than the human fanfare of the occasion.


Below, the butterflies as they fly away.

The butterflies are freed from their carrier and just float away… to the nearest clover.


It was a bit dicey for these newly hatched Monarchs since the wind was picking up and taking them across a busy road, not to mention the crowd of people watching the event.

We had to be very careful where we walked so as not to step on one. When butterflies are raised like at the farm, the young butterflies are less wary than the older ones often seen in gardens. They are so intent on feeding, they are less interested in the people around them, so getting close for photos is rather easy. I only had my small P510 camera along too.


The only problem with the photos is where they land and on what the butterflies are feeding. They do not land on picturesque plants. I went back at this preserve on Monday to see if any butterflies remained and if they were laying eggs on the milkweed. They might have been. I saw about a dozen Monarchs flying in the meadow. That is a female above, brought by Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm. Each Saturday they are at the Clarence Hollow Farmers Market June thru September 8:00 AM until 1:00 PM, 10717 Main St., Clarence, NY. I add the address so locals can visit them.

Next post, When Will You Stop Blogging?

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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23 Responses to Stella Niagara Preserve – Releasing the Monarchs

  1. What a great closeup shot!

    • Thank you. There are a few I shots I was very close to, literally. In the wild one cannot get inches away from a Monarch. Those I show on Milkweed in other posts are taken with a zoom lens like your 300mm lens, here I used my Nikon P510 and moved in close. These are hand raised, so they are very comfortable around humans. Many land right on people. I had a Mourning Cloak land on me in my garden by mistake. I so wish I had the little camera I would have gotten the shot.

  2. A.M.B. says:

    Great pictures! My kids would love to go to a monarch release event. I’ll show them this post later.

    As for your next topic… That’s a huge one! I’m so curious about what you’re going to say!

    • I am almost sure that there is a Monarch Farm in eastern PA. Maybe Google it and see. My next post is a two part post. I mentioned that early in blogging I made goals to obtain, and then I would stop. Things always change over time when you first start something to after doing it for a while. The goals may have changed, but the reality of stopping to blog didn’t. It is an interesting look at blogging and what the future holds.

  3. Indie says:

    What a great event! How wonderful that they are setting aside more land for the use of wildlife. I have yet to see any Monarchs here in Massachusetts in the two years I’ve lived here. I have milkweed awaiting if they ever decide to come, though!

    • Quite a few Monarchs seen this year in our area. It helps too that the Farm releases them everywhere they have a demonstration. They flood WNY with Monarchs to make good use of all the Milkweed planted. Hope they fly your way!

  4. gauchoman2002 says:

    I’d like to echo the other commenters and commend you on the great photos. Taking good pictures of butterflies is no easy task!

    • Thank you. These Monarchs were a bit easy to photograph since they had no fear of us humans. The ones I take on Milkweed is another story. I always have to have a telephoto lens for them. It is hard to sneak up on them. They feel every change in their environment.

  5. What a joyful post, Donna. 🙂 Your photos are always fabulous, and of course the Monarchs are photogenic! I haven’t seen as many Monarchs as last year, but they seem to be increasing in my garden now. It’s always encouraging to learn about efforts to create and devote habitat for wildlife.

  6. Very hopeful and uplifting – and great photos. I hope the monarchs are fruitful and multiply.

  7. Stunning photos. I love Monarchs but sadly they are in decline here in New Zealand so we are being encouraged to plant milkweeds for them.

  8. aussiebirder says:

    How wonderful that this reserve is really taking off with community support and now the release of the butterflies, your people are a wonderful example of what we all need to see coming from our communities to restore natural areas, well done!

  9. This is a wonderful post Donna and I enjoyed seeing the Monarchs. You have captured them beautifully!

  10. Donna, you could take stunning photos with a plastic, toy camera. These are lovely. And the project is such a worthy one. I don’t think we have Monarchs here in the NW, but I loved seeing them in California. We once took a trip to the Monarch Sanctuary in Pacific Grove, Calif. and saw trees covered in them like orange and yellow leaves. This post just made me happy.

    • Thank so much, what a nice thing to say. I have heard from a few in the NW that they are not native there. Here they go up into Canada, then pass back through here. But Canada has written that they may be losing their range in that country. Not because they don’t have milkweed, they do have it, but because the Monarch numbers are declining overall and the butterflies can’t make it to Canada. Not enough generations of them are produced to make that journey. Possibly raising them here helps Ontario.

  11. debsgarden says:

    Best wishes, little monarchs! May you prosper and multiply! I have not seen a monarch here in years. A great loss. I also am interested in your next post, as I have been blogging almost six years now. Habit? Civic duty? Personal satisfaction? Do I know?

  12. This is fabulous…I wish we did this more throughout the state….I saw one monarch flit through the garden the other day but no use coming here as mine is the only house around growing milkweed…the others grow chemical lawns and spray to kill bugs in their yards.

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