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Prince Edward School
River East Transcona School Division
Monarch Butterfly Gardens

Our garden journey began in the fall of 2006. Our goals and objectives were for the Grade 3 students in our gardening club to work with staff and community members to create and establish a sustainable, natural habitat for insects, primarily the monarch butterflies. We wanted them to establish flower beds where host plants (milkweed and parsley) and food/nectar plants could grow. We wanted the students to continue to maintain and add plants, flowers and shrubs to our already existing gardens while expanding their knowledge, appreciation and skills for nature, gardening and prairie plants.

With these goals and objectives in mind, our school applied for a grant from the Environmental Youth Corp. We applied for a total of $3976 to complete our gardens. Our parent association also gave us $150 towards gardening supplies and plants.

We worked with a landscape company called “Hardscapes” and designed three beds – one larger central bed with milkweed and two surrounding beds with nectar plants for the monarch butterflies.  We also worked with Prairie Original Plants to choose plants that were native to Manitoba and would be successful in our gardens.Our gardens were finally completed at the end of May 2007.

The students worked with various people (teachers, administration, the guidance councillor, janitor, landscapers, parents and other community members) to learn and extend their knowledge about the monarch butterfly and gardening. These students established pen pal relationships with students from New Jersey with the theme of butterflies and gardening in mind and attended 18 learning, art based, planting and maintenance sessions. They learned about the monarch butterfly, the importance of the environment and the success of executing a plan and working hard to see it completed.

Quotes by Erik Mollenhauer (The Monarch Teachers' Network)

“You have this little insect that weighs less than a dime and yet it makes a journey about 3,500 kilometres to Mexico. “When (the students) release that butterfly (after raising it), it’s not just a butterfly that goes to Mexico, the imagination of that child also goes with it.”

This imagination, will lead  children to wonder about what the butterflies will see when they set out from Canada to Mexico in order to escape the harsh winter. This will allow teachers to integrate an “interdisciplinary approach” in the classroom that involves geography, history and language.

We have included links to our Butterflies and students and one for Our gardens in "The Torch" magazine. which we hope you will enjoy.