For several years, McGuffey has worked with the Monarch Watch, a program that helps facilitate the preservation of the monarch butterfly migration by the governments and private citizens of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. McGuffey maintains several certified monarch waystations, that include a carefully selected group of flowers and both common and tropical milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant monarch caterpillars eat, and is where monarch butterflies lay their eggs.
This program allows us to discuss both science and social studies—observing the monarch life cycle, exploring the ecology of North American countries, discussing the impact of human beings on different species, and thinking about how we can play a role in conservation. Older grades have the opportunity to discuss the social and political reasons
A few weeks ago our first monarch babies hatched! Pictured is a one day old monarch caterpillar. The dime placed next to it shows how tiny they are. The white dot next to it is what remains of its egg shell, which is its first meal after it hatches.
By the first day of school, this tiny caterpillar will have eaten its way to being several inches long and will have already metamorphosed into a chrysalis. We will continue to collect eggs and observe this life cycle, keeping these fragile creatures safe from predators. We will tag them before they are released so that scientists can collect data on any butterflies that are found as they migrate to Mexico.