SEPTA bus driver raises Monarch butterflies during COVID-19 pandemic

John Richardson, Jr. started his journey around his birthday in June of 2020, as a way to relieve stress.
TOWNSEND, Delaware (WPVI) -- It was a beautiful sight: 20 Monarch butterflies being released in Townsend, Delaware.

John Richardson, Jr., also known as "J Love the Butterfly Guy," has been a SEPTA bus driver for close to 33 years.

His calling to raise butterflies came during the pandemic. He also did it to honor his late mother-in-law.

"We used them as a symbol for her metamorphosis and change," Richardson Jr. said. "The butterflies go through a few stages of change. I read all about the Monarchs and how to help them."

Richardson Jr. raises and maintains the Monarchs at a habitat on Janet's Way in Townsend, Delaware. He started his journey around his birthday in June of 2020, as a way to relieve stress.

Reading that butterflies could possibly become extinct, he wanted to do his part. He found his new passion, and he got the kids involved.

"They all tend to help, and when people see us, they say, 'Hello,'" he said. "We just like to spread love. They always ask how the butterflies are doing, and I say, 'They're doing pretty fine.'"

Richardson Jr. bought all of the supplies himself. From the milkweed and plants to the garden for the butterflies to lay their eggs.

He says his butterflies are so strong they could fly as far as the mountains of central Mexico or up to Canada.

He raised about 200 in 2020 and has raised around 250 so far this year.

Now, "J Love the Butterfly Guy" looks to make his Townsend sanctuary a certified pollinator habitat.
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