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Audience Learns about Monarch Butterfly

03/27/16 by Guest Writer

By Hannah Davis

The plight of the Monarch butterfly was the inspiration for a talk March 21 at the Center for the Environment facility on the Catawba College campus.

Edna Chirico, executive director of the Green Teacher Network of Charlotte (GTNC), discussed the importance of educating children on where their food comes from by implementing outdoor gardening activities in schools. Within the past year, GTNC has become engaged with over 100 school gardens. Not only are these gardens important for engaging children – but they also provide safe havens for all sorts of pollinators.

Chirico said it is important to have milkweed in all of the gardens in the South because of the migration of the Monarch butterfly. Since the Monarch flies south to Mexico in the winter and north toward Canada in the spring, North Carolina in particular provides a safe pit stop for Monarchs to refuel on their journey.

Environmental Stewards Brittany Parsons and Joel Schlaudt also got to showcase some of the work that they and the Environmental Stewards have been doing with butterflies recently. Parsons discussed the importance of pollinators and briefly went over the projects that the Environmental Stewards are working on this semester including Schlaudt’s Bee Project, Forest Fugate’s Sustainable Garden work, Pam Casdorph’s Greenhouse Project, and Parsons’ own Milkweed Rain Garden Project.

Schlaudt then talked about the research he did last summer in Panama where he studied different types of butterflies in different climates. Schlaudt hopes to publish a paper soon on his work detailing the distribution between different butterfly species in different ecosystems. He hopes to find a link between habitat destruction, such as logging, and the dwindling number of species within Panama. 

The Center and Alpha Chi, a Catawba honor society, co-sponsored the event. Salisbury Rotary Club members, who are partners with GTNC, also have an interest in planting a butterfly garden in Salisbury so several members of the club were also in attendance.

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