Growing our next generation of conservationists
This is part of a blog series celebrating WWF’s Monarch Butterfly Week, May 5-9.
The March issue of WWF’s Schools for a Living Planet e-newsletter contained an offer for free milkweed seeds to the first 100 teachers who could hit “reply.” (Don’t miss out next time — sign up for the S4LP e-newsletter here!) Due to the overwhelming response, we were able to send out seeds to 1,000 teachers in over 700 schools across the country, and encouraged schools to start their seeds in their classroom windows as soon as possible, to have plants ready to welcome the monarchs home this June.
Melissa Bond’s kindergarten class at Tallahassee Community School in Eastern Passage, NS is hoping to attract some butterflies with their sprouting milkweed plants. They have been learning all about butterflies from books since receiving their seeds!
In Lethbridge, AB, St. Patrick Fine Arts Elementary School has started growing their milkweed seeds indoors and plans to plant them in their school garden, which borders two portables. The goal of the garden is to act as a shelter for wildlife, and hares, tree frogs and deer have already been nosing about. The school hopes to add butterflies to the list of wildlife spotted this spring!
At Connaught Elementary School in Calgary, AB, teacher Pam Clark enlisted the help of Grade 3s and 4s to start the seeds on Earth Day, with plans to transplant the seedlings to the school’s new sunflower garden in May.
In Burlington, ON, Trinity Christian School plans to try the seeds in a naturalized section of the schoolyard, where the students enjoy uncut grass, native plants and — hopefully — milkweed and monarch butterflies!
St. Andrew Catholic School, a certified Ontario EcoSchool in Nepean, ON, started milkweed seeds in all 23 of their classroom windows and plan to transplant them to the schoolyard this month. The kindergarten class certainly got their hands dirty with this project!
Elaine Pepe’s class at Yorkhill Elementary School in Thornhill, ON, is using the milkweed seeds to create Mother’s Day gifts. Each student painted a clay pot, drafted a letter to his/her mom that explained why milkweed matters for monarchs and included outdoor planting instructions. (For more Monarch Butterfly Week crafts that use milkweed, check out this blog.)
Due to a short supply of their primary food source (milkweed), extreme weather and deteriorating forests, fewer monarchs are surviving their migration to and from Mexico each year. But by planting these seeds, these schools (and many others!) are helping to support monarchs. WWF would love to continue to follow along as your classroom grows its monarch habitat. Please send photos and stories showcasing your class’s commitment to helping monarchs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WWF’s Schools for a Living Planet connects educators and students of all ages to WWF’s conservation work. Join the S4LP community and learn how you can inspire your classrooms and classmates to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.