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'Butterfly Whisperer' helps to protect monarch species

Gardening Pollinator-Friendly Pest Control
Posted at 1:27 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 16:04:29-04

ST. PETE, Fla.  — Over the past decade, the monarch butterfly population has plummeted close to 90%. They are quickly headed toward the endangered species list. However, one St. Pete senior is doing her best to not only save this species but educate others.

Donna Sinicrope has a lot of nicknames at the Fountains of Boca Ciega — from Ms. Green Thumbs to the Butterfly Lady, to the Butterfly Whisperer. But, she doesn’t care what they call her as long as she gets to share her passion with hundreds of new friends

When Sinicrope moved into The Fountains three years ago she saw an opportunity to not only help her favorite species but give back to her new community.

“I spent 10 years building up my garden at home, I call it a jungle, but I thought I could really add something here,” said Sinicrope.

So she started out with one simple milkweed plant and asked residents to each take a cutting back to their rooms to grow.

Donna Sinicrope.png

“They had them for about two weeks in their room and then they started to root and then we had a milkweed planting party,” said Sinicrope.

Where there’s milkweed, there’s also monarch butterflies, it’s the only plant monarch caterpillars feed on.

The Fountains said it’s been inspiring to see so many fellow residents join Sinicrope in her efforts.

“It’s very exciting, now they call her the Butterfly Lady, here comes the Butterfly Girl, so it’s very exciting to see that the residents are starting to enjoy it,” said Caroline Blesson.

The community project has truly taken flight and so have the butterflies.

Donna Sinicrope butterfly garden.png

“I think the awareness, a lot of people are very much aware now that the monarch needs our help,” said Sinicrope.