This year’s guardianship began in mid-July when Liz Love, Children’s House 3 teacher, and Finn, a second grader attending Summit summer camp, discovered a tiny caterpillar on a milkweed leaf in one of the school’s raised beds. (The school has completely devoted one of its three raised gardening beds to the production of milk weed, monarch caterpillars’ only food source.) Miss Liz collected the milk weed leaf and moved it to a protected butterfly environment. This began a weeks-long collection process during which Liz and Children’s House teacher Marian Wallace collected and nurtured many eggs and tiny caterpillars.
Thus far this fall Liz has distributed monarch caterpillars on milkweed leaves in protected viewing boxes among the school’s six classrooms. Thus far approximately 130 adult butterflies have emerged from their chrysalis stage and have been released to begin their extraordinary flight to Mexico.
While the students are learning about the life cycle of the monarch, they are also learning how very important their work as Monarch Guardians has become.Since the 1990’s the monarch population has been reduced by millions. The monarchs’ only food source is milkweed, and that has been eradicated in many areas by developers, and by farmers and gardeners who consider it to be just a week. Pesticide usage has also played havoc with the Monarchs, as has logging in Mexico’s Oyamel fir forest, the winter home of these beautiful butterflies.
At Summit we are proud to do our part to support the survival of these truly amazing creatures.