Susan Moore | Jul 06, 2016
Monarch butterflies will be flocking to 14 elementary schools in Lennox & Addington County this summer and fall. Pollinator gardens are being planted in school yards and butterflies will be raised in classrooms. Participating local schools include North Addington Education Centre in Cloyne, and Enterprise Public School.
The Lennox & Addington Stewardship Council is spearheading the Monarch Breeding Kits for Schools Project. The Monarch butterfly population is dwindling and all of our pollinators need help. The pilot project began in 2015 when 20 Monarch kits were supplied to 13 elementary schools in L&A County. Kits included caterpillars, chrysalides, a milkweed plant, and an aviary. Students were able to observe the entire life cycle of the Monarch from caterpillar to adult. In September, the children released the Monarchs to begin their migratory route, and the butterflies could be tagged and reported in the Monarch Watch database. This fall generation of Monarchs - the super generation - is able to fly 4,000 km to its winter destination in the mountains of Mexico.
This year in the 2016 Program, nine schools are planting gardens to help attract pollinators of all kinds: butterflies, birds and insects. Native species will be planted, and when the flowers bloom, the students can watch the feeding action. In addition, 14 schools ordered Monarch Breeding Kits, which will be set up in the classrooms at the beginning of September. The breeding kits come from a nursery that is accredited by the International Butterfly Breeders Organization.
Partners are essential to the momentum of this program. Maya Navrot, from Quinte Conservation, has assisted many schools with site plans and advice on plantings. Volunteers have contributed native plants and planting time to the pollinator gardens. Funding for this program has been gratefully received from TD Friends of the Environment, Napanee District Community Foundation, Quinte Conservation, Friends of the Salmon River, and Kingston Field Naturalists, as well as the contributions from participating schools.