Summer vacation, for most kids, normally consists of swimming, riding bikes and sleepovers with friends. However, this summer has been anything but normal.
As the Monarch Butterfly’s annual cycle nears its season end, Selah Golonsky, an 11-year-old Thousand Oaks middle school student, has embraced her quarantine time as an opportunity to raise butterfly conservation awareness and much needed funds for a local nonprofit charity supporting families of pediatric cancer.
Selah and her family began raising Monarch Butterflies as an at-home backyard activity in 2016. Pairing her love of nurturing butterflies and her desire to spread a little kindness during COVID-19, she began gifting her closest friends with Monarch Butterfly chrysalises, which is the pupa stage of the butterfly life cycle. Delivered in a custom-made observation box with a viewing window, these delicate encased insects come with detailed care instructions.
Midway through Selah’s kindness project, she was inspired by a family friend to extend her conservation awareness efforts, while helping to support children with pediatric cancer. It was at that moment that “Selah’s Butterfly Sanctuary” was born and her mission made clear!
Once word got out, Selah started receiving requests for her butterfly observation boxes. This firsthand experience of the last stage of the butterfly’s life cycle is priceless and the photo opportunities are endless.
The telltale gold spots and rim present on the Monarch Butterfly chrysalis is thought to possibly serve as camouflage, reflecting the colors of its surroundings, warning colorations to ward off predators, or ports of entry for oxygen exchange. But no matter the anatomical purpose of the gold hues, Selah feels it truly represents the gold ribbon that symbolizes childhood cancer awareness.
Selah now sells her gold-adorned chrysalises, along with information about Monarch Butterfly conservation and how one can support local pediatric cancer families. A portion of the proceeds directly benefits the BumbleBee Foundation in Westlake Village, CA, which was founded in the memory of Jarren Donatini, who at age four, passed away from Hepatoblastoma, a very rare form of liver cancer.
A limited amount of Selah’s Butterfly Sanctuary Chrysalis Observation Boxes are still available. For more information, please visit BumbleBeeFoundation.org or call (805) 493-2124.