Last spring, second graders put a plan into action to help the monarch population. Unfortunately, monarchs are on the endangered species list. Inspired by the MICDS Mission which encourages students to live lives of purpose and service, our Beasley scientists acted as Citizen Scientists who studied, planned for, and planted a monarch waystation.
What are monarch waystations? “They are designated habitat spaces for monarch caterpillars and butterflies,” Lower School Science Teacher Laura Pupillo explained. “They supply milkweed, the food source for caterpillars, and annual and native perennial nectar flowers for butterflies. A waystation is also a valuable food source for many other insects and birds such as hummingbirds, milkweed bugs, and other butterflies. Since monarch butterflies are an endangered species, having gardens like this is a helpful way to secure their future.”
Last April, the then second graders planted native Missouri wildflowers including more milkweed and annual zinnia seeds to help the monarch species. The plants grew over the summer, and this August and September, it’s been rewarding for the now third graders, along with Pupillo, to see the garden flourishing! It also had one new addition on Thursday this week. “Our garden was registered with Monarch Watch and we just got our official sign!” said Pupillo. The third-grade scientists are proud of their work from the spring, and they happily placed the special sign to designate the area as an official monarch waystation.
The two third-grade classes gathered carefully in the garden to first chat about why they love monarchs, what they like about the waystation, and why waystations are important.
- “I love monarchs because they are pretty and because they make the world prettier.” – Annie M. ’32
- “I want to help monarchs because they’re just amazing creatures. They can fly 50 miles a day!” – Shayaan R. ’32
- “We planted the waystation so monarch butterflies can drink nectar and lay eggs which will hatch into caterpillars.” – Shivatmika M. ’32
- “Monarchs need help because they are dying and we do not want that to happen.” – Avery B. ’32
- “I love monarchs because they are pretty and have cool wings.” – Emma K. ’32
- “Monarch waystations are really important because most monarchs die of starvation and if they don’t have enough food for migration they will die.” – Priyanka G. ’32
- “I am so, so glad we have a waystation so every time we walk in every morning, I might see monarchs!” – Sienna S. ’32
After the discussion, Pupillo installed the official monarch waystation sign while surrounded by the third-grade Rams. While placing the sign, students were delighted to find several caterpillars and even a “one-dot ladybug.” What fun it was to see all of the creatures who call the Beasley garden their home!
Thank you, Beasley scientists, for caring for the monarchs and providing them with a safe and nourishing place on the MICDS campus!