Saving Monarch Butterflies, One Milkweed at a Time
Have you ever considered the importance of milkweed? Our 2nd graders, along with science teacher Cathy Denham, recently embarked on a unit focused on the importance of preserving pollinator habitats and the plight of the Monarch butterflies specifically. The class set out to help the Monarch butterflies on their epic spring and fall migrations. They created Monarch flags in science lab and then posted the flags around the milkweed areas in both Fisher Farm Park and the county park. These signs help protect the milkweed from being mowed down.
In addition to creating the Monarch flags, Mrs. Denham also noted, "We have milkweed in our school garden right here at Woodlawn that we observed to learn about the Monarch’s life cycle! We can see Monarch butterflies lay their eggs and observe the larvae eating the milkweed. Each fall we take a few into our science lab to see the larva form a chrysalis and then emerge a beautiful butterfly. In this way we know what we need to protect. We know we need to protect more milkweed for Monarchs since we have seen these beautiful creatures in action."
Helping the beautiful butterflies showed our 2nd graders they could be active citizens of Mecklenburg county. In carpool line students also collected signatures on a petition to name the county park next to Fisher Farm Park Monarch Butterfly Park to honor the endangered Monarch.
Special thanks to Cindy and Eric McCurry who brought in the materials for the flags and helped our students assemble and paint them in class.
The Plight of the Monarch
Milkweed is a native plant to North Carolina and is essential to Monarch butterflies’ survival. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed leaves and their larvae only eat milkweed. Each spring and fall, Monarch butterflies migrate, passing through North Carolina April-June and September-November. By preserving the milkweed in our parks, we ensure that the Monarchs have a safe habitat during their journeys.