Category Archives: Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant

STREAM in Action: Monarch Rescue Project

This article was contributed by Andrea Kopp, NCEA Educational Resource Manager.

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Six NCEA member schools being supported by The NCEA Monarch Rescue Grant Project are wrapping up their 2nd year. Donor, Dr. Judith Wagner, a retired government researcher, generously funds this grant. Dr. Wagner is passionate about Monarch butterflies and wants to invest in the future of children by incorporating Catholic social teaching on stewardship of the resources God has provided us.

During the second year, the recipients of the grant focused heavily on STREAM methodology, and were inspired by MonarchRescue.org and Pope Francis’ call for environmental stewardship through his encyclical, Laudato Si.  All of the schools did a great job, not only planning and planting their gardens, but providing meaningful examples of the STREAM model in action.

Congratulations to NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leaders Kate Rezac from St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Omaha, NE and Connie Taylor from Rosary Cathedral School in Toledo, OH. Rezac and Taylor were awarded scholarships to attend the NCEA 2016 STREAM 2.0 Symposium being held at Neumann University June 27-29 and were selected to co-present their work on the Monarch Rescue Project at STREAM alongside Andrea Kopp and Dr. Judith Wagner.

Dr. Wagner and NCEA encourage all Catholic schools to join with many other organizations and citizens throughout the United States to help bring back the migration.

To learn more about the Monarch Rescue Grant Program and see the progress of our Monarch Schools click here. Remember to follow the Monarch butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

 

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St. Joseph Catholic School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program May Update

This post was contributed by Ashley Davis, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader.

It is May and we have started planting and transplanting in our garden!

Before having Grace and going on maternity leave, I had the pleasure of meeting with a monarch pro.  Her name is Kitty and she runs a huge monarch butterfly farm at the Botanical Gardens in our town.  She came out to the butterfly site on our campus and gave some pointers on what to grow and how to space things and what to do with our center spot.  We are excited to use all the knowledge that she has given us.

While on maternity leave, I have scheduled times to come up to school with different classes and teach using the garden while we work.

We recently had first graders working with our third graders in our butterfly garden to spread dirt and plant.

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We hauled and spread bags of topsoil and a truckload of soil and mulch.  We are so thankful for the donation of a truckload of soil and mulch by a community member.  DBAR Livestock, we could not have filled our huge area with soil and mulch without you!

The first graders paired with our third graders to get the job done.  Our third graders enjoyed mentoring to the younger students.  While that was going on, baby Grace enjoyed the sunshine and the chatter of the big Saint Joe Panthers as we all worked.

Our Saint Joe Panthers worked together to plant donated plants as well as plants we have purchased for our garden.  We are so thankful for the donations and the community and parent support.  It feels so great to see everyone working together to make this project a success!  This great group of first graders  LOVED working in the garden.  They did some weeding and helped plant.  They also measured the growth of our milkweed seedlings which are inside.  It is awesome to see how these seedlings have grown!  They are almost ready for transplanting and we will do so this week!!!

We LOVE getting our hands dirty for such a great project.  We are so excited and ready to meet our monarchs!!!!

Learn more about St. Joseph Catholic School’s Monarch butterfly activities and more on Facebook.

St. Joseph Catholic School in Fayetteville, Arkansas, 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.

Follow the Monarch butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

Saint Margaret Mary Catholic School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program May Update

This post was contributed by Kate Rezac, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader.

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Our month has been filled with milkweed, muscles, and mulch as we prepare for the monarchs.

Earth Day inspired us to spend time outside planting milkweed seeds and weeding the garden. We even created art inspired by our Monarch Meadow and took the perspective of an insect. The world looks different through their eyes.

On May 10th Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts thoughtfully planted over 200 plants donated by Mulhall’s. We are so thankful for their help and the assistance of parents and siblings.

May 12th was an beautiful and inspiring day. An enormous load of mulch was delivered. Students across all the grade levels spent their PE class hauling mulch. Wheelbarrows, buckets, shovels, rakes, hoes were put into action. Teamwork was the magic that made it all happen. Seeing first graders work alongside seventh graders to accomplish a big task was special. This community effort brings us together in such a meaningful way.

Observing and measuring growth in the garden has been a meaningful experience. We are amazed at how quickly things change and grow. We are mindful of our responsibility to care for creation. We are hopeful our efforts will provide for the monarchs and for other little creatures. We are grateful for all the hands and hearts that have helped. We are blessed. We are also ready! Monarchs, we are so excited to see you!

Learn more about Saint Margaret Mary Catholic School’s Monarch butterfly activities and more on Facebook and Twitter.

Saint Margaret Mary School in Omaha, Nebraska, is a two-time 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.

Follow the Monarch Butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

Rosary Cathedral Catholic School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program May Update

This post was contributed by Connie Taylor, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader.

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A highlight this month was our first and second grade field trip to “The Butterfly House” in Whitehouse, Ohio. Students were able to interact with various kinds of butterflies in the indoor garden area, view a chrysalis exhibit showing numerous emerging and recently emerged butterflies, make a butterfly lifecycle craft, and view a video on the preservation of milkweed and the monarch butterfly. It was a great experience for everyone, all thanks to the butterfly grant!

In addition, we have been busy performing our “Very Hungry Monarch Caterpillar” puppet show, featured in our educational video, for all the classes in our school. The first graders are becoming excellent actors and actresses with all this practice!

Our cup of painted lady butterflies arrived last week, and we watched each of them create their chrysalis this week. All five are currently resting in their butterfly habitat, as they dream of becoming a beautiful butterfly!

 

A cold, rainy spring, with a freeze warning this weekend in Northwest Ohio, hasn’t provided us with great planting weather for our sensory garden and our annuals, but we are excited to see many of the native perennials planted in the monarch garden last spring are starting to poke up. First graders did some weeding this week and we are pretty sure we see about three milkweed plants coming up!

Learn more about Rosary Cathedral Catholic School’s Monarch butterfly activities and more on Facebook and Twitter.

Rosary Cathedral Catholic School in Toledo, Ohio, is a two-time 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.

Follow the Monarch Butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

Sts. Peter & Paul School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program May Update

This post was contributed by Connie Lake and Deb Moffit, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leaders.

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We had an exciting month of growth, not just with the plants, but with the expansion of the garden!  We continued to have Citizen Scientist Tuesday to learn about new and exciting topics.

Each month we try to incorporate a STREAM unit.   This month……

S– Hypothesizing about ‘Why do we have so many volunteer milkweed and how are they spreading?’  We talked about the transfer of seeds by wind, animals, birds, runners- and then decided if we dug down and looked at the roots we may find an answer. We were amazed to see they were connected underground by their roots! (We planted 15 milkweed plants last spring and counted over 50 plants this spring!!!)

T– After the research, we were able to blog about our day. (ourmustardseed.edublogs.org)

R– We know and discuss often how God’s hand is ever-present in our world, more specifically in our beautiful garden.

E– It was time to design the new garden! How do we decide the placement of the plants?? We actually used tape and made a smaller version of our garden in the classroom on the floor.  It helped us each see the importance and understand the reason that the placement of the plants is important in the garden.

A-Each student took colored pencils out to their quadrant of the garden and chose a milkweed to sketch and color. (It was awesome listening to them really “see” the colors of the plant! God again!)

M– We learned about equilateral triangles. We learned that all the angles in the measurement of a triangle equal 180° and each angle had to be equal.  Now we could make our 18” triangle for use in plant placement.

*Along with all of this we learned how to document as a field reporter.  Each quadrant group chose a milkweed plant to monitor. They placed a marker flag with their quadrant’s  number on it. From April 19-May 9 the groups measured their milkweed in millimeters and recorded their findings.  Then on May 9th we talked about how to make a graph that would show the growth difference over time.  We decided a line graph would be the best.  Each student then had to review in their minds about how to make a correct graph, using intervals, labeling axes, title, connecting dots with straight lines. They turned out great!

*This month we also had a bee keeper come to our room to discuss the importance and the ins and outs of beekeeping.  We were able to see an empty hive, the container bees are shipped in, a smoker, the protective clothing worn, and we heard how after a lot of research, you can be a beekeeper and help preserve the honeybee.

*It was quite an exciting day to have the shipment of 200+ plants arrive.  Another learning experience….the plants were tired of traveling and needed to be handled with TLC.  We synergized, got them unpacked and helped them feel at home with a nice drink of water!

Our pre-planting days had us marking popsicle sticks with the name of a plant (using a code and color) and then all like sticks were bundled with rubber bands. Once we had that done, we looked at a graph of the potential height of each plant and then decided where each type of plant should be placed in the garden. Then using the 18” triangles, each quadrant could lay out the triangle template and place the plant (stick) where the plant would be placed.  Planting day……we assigned each to their quadrant with a ‘runner’.  As the student pulled the stick from the marked spot, it was handed to the runner, who went to the ‘plant station’, handed the stick to Miss Deb and was given the correct plant.  Once the runner returned, the plant’s hole had been dug, 1 cup of water poured in and the plant had a new home.  This went smoothly and all plants were in the ground by noon!!!  We took a break at lunch and had a wiener roast!  Then back to work wetting layers of newspaper to place on the ground in preparation for the mulch.  While this was being done, others were digging a small trench around the garden to detour weeds from entering!  Our final moments of the day included getting a gift of a cement statue of St. Francis!!!!  A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Learn more about Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School’s Monarch butterfly activities and more on Facebook and the Our Mustard Seed blog.

Sts. Peter & Paul School in Nauvoo, Illinois, is a two-time 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.

Follow the Monarch Butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

Saint Paul’s School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program May Update

This post was contributed by Ann Pfalzgraf, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader.

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It has been a busy month for us at St. Paul’s.  This month has been mostly a wrap up for the nine seniors in the Environmental Science Class.  We finished the final touches on the garden and maintained it by watering and adding mulch as needed.  The seniors graduated last Saturday, May, 14.  This class will be known as the creators of the St. Paul’s Monarch Butterfly Garden.  The two remaining juniors have watered the garden during the dry spells and have also taken their final exams.  Tomorrow is our last day of school (Yes, we do finish early in the south, but we begin during the first week of August).

Learn more about Saint Paul’s School Monarch butterfly activities 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.

 Follow the Monarch butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program May Update

This post was contributed by Holly Rice, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader.

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We now have two completed gardens at St. Elizabeth! Our courtyard plants are showing a lot of growth during the first month since completion. The butterfly garden in front of the school has four varieties of milkweed and the plants had a rough start but are doing better now. We had a lot of storms with high winds which have been a bit of concern but we have not lost any plants. Students are eager to see signs of butterflies but so far we have not seen activity. Students are helping to maintain the garden during and after school and are very curious about different organisms we are finding, especially in the courtyard. One class even started their own lesson in the courtyard after finishing watering the plants.

The art class is currently working on making butterfly decorations for the gardens and students in 6th grade are making butterfly origami to hang around the school. Pre-K bought a butterfly kit and they were happy to have five butterflies to release last week. The whole school is involved in learning more about God’s creatures and how we can take care of them. Parents have told me some of the things they are doing at home also. School will be over in two weeks but we will still have a lot of activity at St. Elizabeth this summer!

Learn more about St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School’s Monarch butterfly activities and more on their blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School in Dallas, Texas, 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.

Follow the Monarch butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

St. Joseph Catholic School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program April Update

This post was contributed by Ashley Davis, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader.

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We have continued our clean up efforts in our garden as we prepare for the monarchs.  While working to prepare the garden, we also have started researching what attracts monarchs and we have made plans for how we will set up the garden with a wind break and places for monarchs to sunbathe, etc.

We are ready to begin planting milkweed seeds inside and letting them get big enough to be transplanted outside.  We will also haul dirt and mulch soon as we fill the center of this space for planting.  We also hope to see our natural wind breaks blooming this year for the first time in many years since we have pruned them.  We will also add two attractive white latice wind breaks in May.  We cannot wait to begin planting for our monarchs!

 

The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations. ― Pope John Paul II

We are loving our butterfly garden.  We are enjoying preparing for our monarchs while we also experience hands on learning within God’s creation!  We are SO EXCITED to be doing what we are doing!!!!  Thank you for this opportunity.

Learn more about St. Joseph Catholic School’s Monarch butterfly activities and more on the blog and on Facebook.

St. Joseph Catholic School in Fayetteville, Arkansas, 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.

Follow the Monarch butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

Rosary Cathedral Catholic School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program April Update

This post was contributed by Connie Taylor, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader

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The garden is once again covered in a light blanket of snow as of April 10th.

I was honored to be asked to speak to a group of 50 diocesan teachers, at their L.I.F.E. (Learning in Faith-filled Environment) meeting, in regards to the N.C.E.A. monarch grant. I shared a slide show of photographs associated with our grant project and shared the wonderful things that NCEA and our donor are doing for us.

The First graders have also been very busy making their monarch caterpillar puppets, decorating the scenery and practicing their parts for the educational video we made called “The Very Hungry Monarch Caterpillar,” featuring a quote from Pope Francis’ -Laudato Si at the conclusion.

For video updates, please watch them here: Monarch Butterfly Activity Video #1 and Monarch Butterfly Activity Video #2.

Learn more about Rosary Cathedral Catholic School’s Monarch butterfly activities and more on Facebook and Twitter.

Rosary Cathedral Catholic School in Toledo, Ohio, is a two-time 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.

Follow the Monarch Butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.

Saint Margaret Mary Catholic School Monarch Butterfly Rescue Grant Program April Update

This post was contributed by Kate Rezac, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leader.

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Pope Francis said, “Let us be protectors of God’s Plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” Our students, our families, our community are finding ways to be these protectors. For example, over spring break, one student and her thoughtful grandfather built a butterfly house to provide a safe haven for the monarchs, and they gave this new home to our SMM Monarch Meadow. Other students planted milkweed seeds and have been caring, nurturing, and protecting them for weeks at home with notion that they will donate them to our garden. A family traveling in California over spring break made a special stop at the Monarch Sanctuary in California where the monarchs were protected during the winter months. Another family traveled to the Cayman Islands and explored another butterfly sanctuary. So many people around our globe are protectors and caretakers. We know we are called to be protectors of the monarchs.

Sometimes being a steward requires us to get our hands dirty, and that happened on April 11th. Students, scouts, leaders, parents, grandparents, younger siblings dug in and did an amazing job pruning and weeding our garden space as we prepare for our new visitors.

The garden is our classroom quite often. Recently in math class, the third graders had to measure length in centimeters and decimeters and compare metric units of length. They measured and recorded the height of items such as the Red Emperor Tulips. Our garden is a test tulip garden for Journey North. These tulips are beautiful. So many were amazed to see them blossom. We can see how God is an amazing artist by seeing the tulips and daffodils grace our space and touch our hearts. We even planted tulips in the shape of a heart for Jesus’ sacred heart.

We decided to further be caretakers of the earth, and the students are proud to be members of the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program. Over 100 students took home cabbage plants that they will care for over the summer. We were blessed to have a caretaker from Bonnie Plants deliver the plants. He spoke with students about how to provide for the cabbage plants.

We know this next month will be filled with excitement! Growth and change and transformation are just around the corner. We are called to be protectors and caretakers. We are blessed to do our part.

Learn more about Saint Margaret Mary Catholic School’s Monarch butterfly activities and more on Facebook and Twitter.

Saint Margaret Mary School in Omaha, Nebraska, is a two-time 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.

Follow the Monarch Butterfly conversation using #NCEAMonarch, search NCEA Talk using keyword Monarch Butterfly Rescue and view the Monarch Inspiration Gallery on Pinterest.