We've been collecting monarch eggs in spring and fall for at least 15 years and giving them to local elementary schools along with supplies of milkweed. More recently (about 6 years ago) we began opening the fields (Choctaw Trails, Mississippi College cross country track) to the public to give them an opportunity to find milkweed and collect eggs.
Rescuing from Predators
The fields have high populations of fire ants and, because they are often mowed during the monarch season to accomodate field events, we can easily lose an entire generation from one of the more substantial milkweed fields in central Mississippi. We let our participants know that because of predation on eggs and young larvae—and due to the uncertainty of the mowing schedule—any eggs they can collect, rear and release can only enhance the monarch population.
Sharing the Monarchs
The eggs collected are taken by the rescuer unless they have more than they want/need. Surplus eggs (and a supply of milkweed) are given away to the public by the Clinton Nature Center as part of an "adopt a monarch" program. The rescue and the adoption program are both highly popular family events in our area. The Center collects, sorts, packages and distributes milkweed as needed to support the larval rearing and we also provide rearing cages, instructions and encourage participants to establish milkweed gardens if they are able to do so. In the Fall we supply tags to individuals and schools to use in the Monarch Watch tagging program.
Dr. Bill Stark