Kindergartners and fourth-graders at Barringer Academic Center released 24 butterflies into the wild on Oct. 11 after tagging them with stickers, part of their learning about the life cycle and migration patterns of the monarch.
The monarch butterfly, the only insect to migrate up to 2,500 miles to get out of the cold weather and hibernate, is declining in population due to a lack of milkweed. Students hoped that after attaching the stickers to the butterflies’ wings with a code and releasing them that the butterflies would find their way to Mexico. Students will then send information they collected, such as the butterflies’ size, to researchers. Tagging helps researchers determine how long and how fast the butterflies fly and whether they complete the flight.
One butterfly – named Emily by the students – was born shortly before being released into the air. Emily is part of MonarchWatch, a University of Kansas project that enables anyone to help track Monarch butterflies.
The butterflies were raised in the backyard of one of the Barringer teachers. Next spring, teachers will give students milkweed seed packets so they can attract caterpillars and care for butterflies on their own.
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