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'I deliver babies, now I deliver butterflies;' Travel nurse in Williamston raises monarch butterflies

Railroad Street Monarchs
Posted at 2:08 PM, Sep 18, 2023
  • A travel nurse by day and a butterfly nurse by night, Stephanie LaBumbard in Williamston rescues monarch butterflies from her garden or surrounding neighbors.
  • Stephanie has rescued 48 monarch's and successfully released 10 back to the wild.
  • Stephanie tags each successful release through monarchwatch.organd tracks them throughout their life time.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

As summer weather is winding down, all the things that go with it are too. For one woman in Williamston, that means her collecting season is over and she's reflecting on how many beautiful creatures she was able to help.

Beyond the railroad tracks in Williamston, Stephanie LaBumbard helps deliver all kinds of creatures.

“I deliver babies, now I deliver butterflies,” LaBumbard said.

Butterflies she calls her Railroad Street Monarchs.

“Any day, any second we’re waiting,” LaBumbard said.

She started her garden several years ago planting milkweed.

“I found the caterpillars this year, and I was so excited and then I was checking on them and they were gone," LaBumbard said.

When she realized the chance butterflies had at surviving, she knew she had to help.

“They have a 10 percent chance right now of survival in the wild," LaBumbard said. “I think we're at about 48 that we rescued.”

Throughout the season, Stephanie takes to her garden with necessities in hand.

“Other people they use all these fancy contraptions I just use stuff I don’t use in my kitchen,” LaBumbard said.

Findings eggs to save.

“It takes three to five days normally and those will hatch," LaBumbard said. "They'll get a little black up on top and then they'll come out.”

Raising them until they're ready to fly on their own.

“I had one that it just hung right on my clothing it wouldn't go," LaBumbard said. "So I go in the house it was hanging on and then finally, I think after like three hours it decided it was done hanging on my clothes and decided to take off.”

Stephanie has been documenting her successful hatches on social media not expecting the outpouring of support she's received.

“I was just so tired of everybody being so negative that I thought well, maybe if I can just make someone happy,” LaBumbard said.

Her only goal was to deliver more creatures on this Earth.

“Out of the 48 I've had so far, like I said, ten that we've successfully let go that with no problems,” LaBumbard said.

While her time near the railroad might be coming to a close.

“I am selling this house," LaBumbard said. "We're going to put it up for sale probably at the beginning of next year.”

She can leave this garden knowing she's spread a little more life near the railroad.

“They each have their own personalities, which is funny as all get up,” LaBumbard said.

And joy to every creature.

Stephanie is able to track each butterfly she tags throughmonarchwatch.org to see their journey as they travel down to Mexico for migration, and throughout their lifetime.

She hopes to rescue more butterflies on a larger scale in her new home. You can follow Stephanie's butterflies on her Facebook page.

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