Raising and Tagging Monarchs in the Classroom

  • Location
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Status

The Problem

Our wish for our Monarch Raising and Tagging project at Riverfield Country Day School is to create butterfly gardens on our campus. Students will plant native, pollinating/nectar, and milkweed plants that will help the Monarch butterfly survive on its migration from Canada to Mexico. Since Monarch butterflies migrate through Oklahoma, our students want to make sure they have enough milkweed and nectar plants to survive their laying of eggs, food for caterpillars, and energy to fly to Mexico. Monarchs are a very important part of our ecosystem. They are great pollinators and are very beautiful animals. Monarchs are in trouble because their habitats are being destroyed by herbicides, pesticides, and humans. Milkweed is the only plant that Monarch caterpillars will eat. This plant is important because it provides the caterpillars food, shelter, and toxins that protect them from predators. The Riverfield Roots & Shoots students raised monarch caterpillars in the science lab. This was the first year that we raised our own monarchs from our campus milkweed from our Monarch WayStation gardens. We are also a founding member of the Monarch Initiative of Tulsa.

Our Plan

Riverfield Country Day School in Tulsa, Oklahoma became a Monarch WayStation in 2015. The butterfly gardens have to have three different species of milkweed, nectar and pollinating plants in order to become a certified Monarch WayStation. We ordered 50 Monarch tags from the Monarch Watch research program at the University of Kansas. Students collected Monarch eggs from the campus milkweed and put them into a clear cup with plastic covering with holes in it. They observed the eggs that went through metamorphosis into caterpillars. Caterpillars then changed into chrysalids and then eclosed into the Monarch butterfly. We observed the complete life cycle, created a video, and made scientific recordings of the process. The butterflies were then tagged and given a kiss goodbye for safe travels to Mexico.

Themes Addressed

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    Community Enhancement
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The Benefit

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