Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monarch Watch

We have been given the privilege of helping raise Monarch butterflies. As a volunteer naturalist at Runge Nature Center I am helping foster these caterpillars into adulthood so that next month, at the Conservation Kids Club program (of which Aidan is a faithful member), the kids can help tag and release the butterflies before they migrate to Mexico. We picked up the larvae this past week and our job is to keep them stocked with milkweed leaves, clean the frass (otherwise known as poop) out of their container and mist them with water from time to time. We have four containers with anywhere from 2-6 caterpillars inside. This picture shows the biggest ones and they continue to grow everyday. And the bigger they get, the more they eat.

We have decided to keep a daily log in order to better monitor their growth, eating habits and overall antics. Aidan and I talk together about what we see and then I have him dictate to me what to record in our journal. The first day he learned to proper use of the word approximately and went on to use it numerous times in his descriptions.

So far, so good. No casualties and no big surprises. We are excited to witness the chrysalis stage and then, ultimately, the full grown butterflies. When they emerge from their chrysalis' we will take them back to the nature center where they will be kept until their release date. If you are interested in learning more about these wonderful creatures and more about what we are doing, check out Monarch Watch.

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