Monarch Butterfly Garden
Monarch butterflies migrate back to southern Manitoba every spring; completing a 3000km journey from central Mexico. However, Manitobans and those living in the northern hemisphere have recognized a rapid decline of Monarch butterfly numbers. Through our Action Project, our goal is to learn more about the Monarch butterfly and help increase their population. It is important to our school to help raise awareness and take action for this species at risk because our school is located by Northeast Pioneers Greenway trail that has plenty of Tall Grass Prairie, a natural habitat for the Monarch.
In order to help increase the Monarch population, our students (with partnership from the Monarch Teachers Network Canada) germinated milkweed (the Monarch’s primary food source) in the classroom and learned about sustainable horticulture and the lifecycle of the Monarch butterfly. In the Fall, we will tag the butterflies that use our created habitat in the school courtyard and track their migration to Mexico and practice skills much as a conservationist would do.
Environment- increase the health of the Monarch butterfly population and biodiversity, planting milkweed (a plant native to Manitoba) and greening the environment.
Economic- Knowledge of the monarch butterfly’s remarkable extraordinary capabilities may have suggestions for understanding navigation of foraging bees, which also use a sun compass. Bees are the major pollinators of plants, and the recent rapid decline in bee and Monarch numbers may be due to disrupted navigation behavior. Thus, a better understanding of insect navigation would have profound economic and agricultural consequences.
Social- the Monarch butterfly migration offers an unparalleled educational tool to inspire an interest for students in science. Moreover, the monarch butterfly plays a significant role in many cultures and can play a significant role when learning about Medicine Wheel teachings.
Reflection & Celebration
In the winter months (November to March) students researched the Monarch butterfly and begin breeding larvae in the classroom. Students also began germinating milkweed in the classroom. In June, students planted milkweed in the courtyard and green space to create a habitat and attracted monarchs to be tagged in the Fall to track their journey to Mexico. Our goal was to see a noticeable increase in Monarch sightings in the school and community and by tagging, record our butterflies’ successful movements from Manitoba to Mexico. To celebrate our learning, we will host a celebration in the courtyard in the Fall (pending due to pandemic) where students will share all of what we learned.