Butterfly Garden (by Mr. Timothy McCann)
Spring is in the air, and the butterflies are returning to St. Paul’s.
Did you know that St. Paul’s has its own mini butterfly garden? It is located between the Muti-Purpose Room (MPR) and the 5th-grade classrooms. Butterflies are very important pollinators in the circle of life, so it is vital to maintain habitats for their sustainability. The garden is visited each year by the Monarch Butterfly on its journey along the coast of North America. Monarch means “royalty,” so this is the king of the butterflies. One only needs to look at its beautiful colors to see how regal it is.
Each year around this time students and teachers are able to witness the metamorphosis of this beautiful creature. There are 4 stages of a butterfly’s life. It starts as an egg laid by the female monarch. The female monarch can lay up to 500 eggs about the size of this period. After 3-8 days, the egg hatches into a larva or caterpillar. These beautiful little caterpillars with their black and yellow coloring are quite striking. The caterpillars begin to chomp on the milkweed in the garden and can grow to about 5 cm. The caterpillars will feed anywhere from 15-25 days before they start the third stage -- the pupation stage. To prepare for this pupal or chrysalis stage, the caterpillar will find a safe place to form its chrysalis. The students have fun as they search to find the dazzling chrysalises. Once found, the students are amazed at the beauty and detail of the chrysalis. The adult emerges from its chrysalis after about 10-15 days. After a period of several hours, the butterflies wings are dry and ready for flight. The wingspan of this tawny orange and black beauty is 8-10 cm. The butterfly then begins the cycle all over again as it migrates up and down the pacific coast pollinating and sharing its beauty with us.
The migrating monarch has been on a decline since the 1990s. That is why conservation efforts and planting butterfly and pollinator-friendly plants are so important. We want to keep these creatures thriving for generations to come.
Stop by and see this wonderful metamorphosis. You will not be disappointed.