Some people have talents that just blow you away when you see them in action. It makes you wonder where you went wrong in your life! While anyone can work hard and acquire some talents, it takes a special kind of heart to use those talents for the selfless good of the world around you. Romy McCloskey is one of those rare people!
Romy McCloskey is a professional costume designer who has spent years honing her skills, primarily hand embroidery and embellishment.
Working in the professional sphere, Romy got really good! Soon, she was making a living from it. It’s when we see those skills being used for good that we get a chance to appreciate the totality of what she does.
In her spare time, Romy repairs the broken wings of butterflies!
Because the nature of her work is so precise and delicate, she was really good at it. It all started when she found a few caterpillars in her backyard a few years ago. She mostly works with Monarchs, the beautiful orange and black ones that we often think of.
She has started raising and releasing Monarchs after she realized they were decreasing in population.
Biological Diversity cites some scary statistics:
Overall eastern monarchs have declined by more than 80% over the past two decades. “Monarchs are the face of the wildlife extinction crisis where even once common species could now disappear.
The work that Romy is doing is quite literally helping a species to survive. Besides raising them, she has a special talent that involves rebuilding the wings of ones that have been damaged in their pupating stage.
For butterflies who have asymmetrical damaged wings, flying isn’t an option.
In this state, the insect would be unable to fly, as butterflies rely on wing symmetry to aid in their flight. And with a short lifespan of just two to six weeks for most Monarch butterflies, they are done with their growth once they emerge as adults. – My Modern Met
It’s when this happens that Romy steps in! Using a towel, scissors, tweezers, talc, contact cement, and a toothpick, she can repair the wings. Sadly, it does require her to use the existing wings of a butterfly that has already died, but it’s better than letting it go to waste!
The operating room. Towel, scissors, tweezers, talc, contact cement, toothpick and my sweet girl who died earlier last week (for wings.)
She trims the damaged bits and holds the little fellow down with a hanger.
Securing the little guy down with the bent hanger, as I cut away the damaged pieces. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt. It's like trimming hair or nails.
Thankfully, it doesn’t hurt to trim their wings. It’s like us getting our hair cut! With a bit of contact cement and some lining up, we can see just how good it looks! The lines are obviously a bit different, but they really do look incredible! With that new set, this fellow can fly wherever he wants.
Ta-da! He's finished! You can see that the black lines in is upper right wing don't match up 100%, and if you look at…
If you happen to find a butterfly with broken wings, you might even be able to help it yourself!
This video from the Live Monarch Foundation shows people how to repair wings. If you have a steady hand and some confidence, you can give it a try yourself! Saving a species is quite a thing to contribute to.
Check out the video below!
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