There is great concern about the decrease in the migratory population of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in the USA. Monarchs are in decline in part due to herbicides killing milkweed (Asclepias spp.). One thing we can do to assist is to plant milkweed, the host for the monarch caterpillar. First, seed pods must be collected from the plants at the end of their growing season when they are completely dried out, but before the pods have let go the seeds. Second, the seeds should be separated from the floss, which normally functions in dispersal by wind. The purpose of this instructable is to demonstrate a simple method of separating the seeds on a small scale. For a large scale separator (trash can size), see the MonarchWatch web site here.
-Milkweed seed pods
-One-gallon plastic container with a wide-mouth lid
-Bouncy balls -- small
-Container to collect the seeds