This post was contributed by Ann Pfalzgraf, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader.
The St. Paul’s Environmental Class has been busy building a brick bed to plant the majority of our milkweed and other native LA nectar producing plants. Five dwarf wax myrtles will be planted to the back of the bed. They will provide a wind barrier and shelter for the butterflies.
A math activity was conducted with the students to determine how much soil to order to fill the bed. Bed dimensions (25 ‘ x 5 ‘ x 1.5 ‘). 7 cubic yards of a 3:2:1 mixture of coarse sand, aged pine bark, and aged manure was purchased for us by the school. The brick bed will be completed this week and filled with the soil. Planting is scheduled for next Monday, March 28. We have already planted some donated milkweed in our nature/pond area.
In class, we watched the documentary “The Flight of the Butterfly.” The film is 53 minutes and covers the butterfly yearly migration from eastern Canada to Mexico. We learned that the Mexicans celebrate the arrival of the Monarch butterflies in conjunction with their El Dia De Los Muertos Celebration. They believe that the butterflies return each year carrying the souls of their dead. We too celebrate the Day of the Dead at St. Paul’s each November 2nd. We have already arranged with the Spanish Dept. moderator to include the Monarch butterfly on the altar this coming November!
The students are also busily preparing to film our video. We have decided to film a PSA-type video. Each student has an assigned role to research (ex. life cycle, migration, threats, solutions, etc.). They will then produce a visual for their topic and a script for their portion of the video. We have sought assistance from our video production class to help us with the video.
Between planting, maintaining, researching, creating visuals, and writing scripts for our video, I believe the class will be quite busy for the next month! Learn more about Saint Paul’s School Monarch butterfly activities and more on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Saint Paul’s School in Covington, Louisiana, is a recipient of the NCEA Monarch Rescue Grant. Grantee schools will share monthly updates on their efforts in researching, planning, building, and maintaining the very best monarch-friendly butterfly gardens possible. They will monitor the success or failure of the garden, learning from problems they encounter to plan improvements in subsequent years. Most important, the developing learning modules will incorporate Catholic social teaching on stewardship of the resources God has provided us.