Monarchs Matter!

  • Location
    Marshall, Michigan
  • Status

The Problem

We hope to educate people about the plight of the Monarch butterfly and encourage them to plant milkweed, avoid using pesticides that kill milkweed, and raise Monarch caterpillars and release them.

Our Plan

We have collected native milkweed seeds and will plant them indoors. When the weather permits, we will transfer seedlings to locations throughout our community to create a place for migratory Monarchs to lay eggs and to provide the necessary food for the caterpillars. We will raise Monarchs from eggs and caterpillars and release them when they emerge from the chrysalis and are ready to fly. We will work to educate others about the declining Monarch population and explain how they can help to save the Monarch.

Themes Addressed

  • term icon

The Benefit

Here is how the project went:

We have distributed and planted native milkweed seeds to people throughout our region. We made several hundred seed bombs from recycled paper at our school's science fair and passed them out to families to plant. We shared the seeds and our interest in this project with students and teachers from neighboring schools, and combined efforts to find Monarch eggs, caterpillars, and butterflies. We raised and released more than 300 Monarch butterflies in 2019. We worked with an international group of people from Canada, the United States and Mexico to take an accurate survey of milkweed plants, eggs, caterpillars in each stage of development, and Monarch butterflies. We recorded and submitted that information so that experts can better help Monarchs.

Through this project I/we learned:

Milkweed is essential for the survival of the Monarch butterfly. The population of milkweed and Monarchs have dwindled due to global warming, loss of habitat, use of pesticides, etc. Students can make a difference by planting milkweed plants and by raising and protecting Monarchs.

What I/we might change:

We would have a photo chart to help members identify each stage of development. The caterpillar goes through various "instars," and while it is easy to tell a newly hatched caterpillar from one that is ready to become a chrysalis, it can be tricky to correctly identify the intermediate stages. Scientists need accurate data in order to best help preserve the Monarch.

My/our favorite part of this project was:

Looking for the caterpillars and releasing the butterflies. We usually gave each butterfly a Spanish name since they would be migrating to Mexico. We learned to tell the gender by the dots on the wings, and would give it a male or female name and release it.

Some tips, tricks or fun facts about the project:

There are many on-line resources to help you learn to raise Monarchs. One we relied on is called "Journey North." There is no need to purchase anything. You can find milkweed in the majority of the East, Midwest and Southeast. Additionally, there is a Western variety. Buying non-native milkweed seed is not helpful.

About Roots & Shoots

We are nurturing the compassionate leaders of tomorrow.

Get To Know Our Model

New Report