Butterfly Effect


On the hunt for a feel good fuzzy? This is your story. 

The year 2020 will forever be remembered for the global pandemic that swept across the world, bringing lives to a standstill, and driving people to adapt to a new way of living. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, many individuals discovered hidden talents, hobbies, and interests they might not have pursued otherwise. For Shane Stevenson who works at Saint Clair Family Estate, the unexpected silver lining of lockdown was the discovery of protecting and raising monarch butterflies.

It all started with a gift from her neighbour – a swan plant. She found a fragile chrysalis hanging on a leaf that was on the verge of falling. Without hesitation she carefully brought the leaf inside her Blenheim home. Little did she know that this seemingly small act would be the beginning of a newfound passion.

From that moment on, Shane’s journey with raising butterflies began, watching the chrysalis transform into magnificent monarch butterflies. We asked Shane, why butterflies? Her response: “Monarchs are beautiful – extraordinary in fact.  It’s amazing to observe a caterpillar grow and turn into a chrysalis, and very special to see the butterfly emerge – they are so vulnerable until their wings dry.”

The most recent chapter of Shane’s butterfly journey saw the release of 163 butterflies, each with a unique story of where they were found and nurtured. From the first butterfly that took flight on May 17th to the last one on June 24th, Shane monitored each of them from the comfort of her own home, creating space for them in her lounge, spare bedrooms and outside protected from harm’s way.

The monarch butterfly is a symbolic insect with its bright and bold colouring, many say it symbolises transformation, beauty, rebirth, hope, and love. Their lifecycle is one of nature’s most beautiful examples of a transformation, changing from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly. The dramatic metamorphosis these insects undergo is undoubtably spectacular.

It takes a patient and compassionate person to raise butterflies and Shane’s approach to fostering is humble and inspiring. The question arose when speaking with her: will you continue to cultivate this newfound hobby? The answer was a decisive yes. She comments, “I will most likely continue doing this every autumn. (the summer months are challenging because of paper wasps) Not sure about ‘growing’ but will endeavour to help as many butterflies as I can.” To Shane, it’s not about quantity, but about making a positive impact and playing a small role in preserving the delicate lives of the butterflies she comes across.

The monarch butterfly population is very fragile due to introduced predators, pesticide use and a shortage of swan plants. Shane’s unexpected efforts towards supporting monarchs in the Marlborough region along-side of others doing the same, helps to stablise numbers for a stronger, healthier species.

Our team are in awe of Shane and her commitment to the environment, she is a passionate contributor, and we are immensely proud to have as part of the Saint Clair Family.

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