The monarchs are filtering past again on their way to their overwintering groves in Mexico. Most of us can’t follow along on the journey – we have to be content watching them pass by, and perhaps logging our sightings on citizen science websites like Journey North, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.
Now that site, in cooperation with Monarchs Across Georgia, is giving elementary school kids the chance to tag along with the monarchs on their epic journey – at least symbolically.
Teachers can download extensive resource materials, including slideshows and suggestions for activities and lessons. Students make and decorate their own life-size butterflies, and the class as a group decorates a single monarch-themed folder to contain their individual butterflies.
They send the entire packet to the project organizers, who bundle it with other students’ packets and send them all on to classrooms in Mexico, near the monarchs’ overwintering groves. Students in Mexico will in turn send a similar packet back to the U.S., electronically, as the monarchs head north again in the spring.
Deliveries begin mid-November and are usually completed by late February or early March. While students wait for their packets to arrive at their destination in Mexico, they can follow along on Estela Romero’s blog, as she goes from village to village delivering them.
The teaching resources for the program are free. The cost per classroom to participate is $15. That covers printing and shipping costs, as well as conservation education for students in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
According to the organizers, the Symbolic Monarch Migration Project both educates youth about monarch biology and encourages them to engage with conservation work.
“These symbolic butterflies build bridges of communication among participants in Mexico, the United States, and Canada,” says the project website. “United by the monarch butterfly, youth celebrate and pledge to protect monarchs and their extraordinary migration.”
The deadline to postmark the packets is October 8. You can learn more about the Symbolic Monarch Migration Project at its website.