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Raising Monarch Butterflies

Mrs. Bourque holds a monarch butterfly

Riverbend is raising thirty-two Monarch butterflies!  Led by our Children’s House teacher Mrs. Sarah Bourque, the School has been involved with the Monarch Guardian Project — an organization that is mostly made up of schools and conservation clubs that report releases — since 2019. 

Mrs. Bourque has also been working with our art teacher, Mr. Jacob, to feed the caterpillars with a supply of milkweed from his home.  Students feed the butterflies after checking the leaves to be sure they don’t have other eggs growing on them.   

A Birch student holds a Monarch butterfly
A Birch student holds a Monarch butterfly

Over the next two weeks we will continue to release the Monarchs so they can make their 2000 mile migration to Mexico where they overwinter. This generation that we release in September and October are the “super generation”.  That means they have a much longer life cycle, they are stronger and able to migrate all the way to Mexico where they overwinter on Oyamel trees. In early spring, the warm sunlight wakes them up, they mate, and lay eggs.  The Monarchs begin again with generations 1-5 making their way north in smaller Northern migrations.

Mrs. Bourque tells us that her mentor and teacher, Madeline Champagne, taught her about the amazing life cycle and migration of the Monarch butterfly in 2002.  “Madeline inspired me to become involved, and we have worked every summer and fall since to bring this science to children.  Thinking about conservation begins with understanding the vulnerability and beauty of a species.  Watching this process, and watching others become fascinated with the process, and the migration, never gets old!” 

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