Monday, June 9, 2014

Final plants of the season given away

We gave our final plants today to Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation. They are working with a local Cub Scout group and putting in a butterfly garden at Jetton Park next Tuesday, June 17. We will post pictures soon.

Friday, May 23, 2014

We made the local news!

Time Warner Cable News 14 visited our campus yesterday to interview teachers and students about our Monarch  program. We are thrilled  to see this type of exposure and the related momentum it brings.

4th Grade Student Claire being interviewed

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Today was an exciting day at Charlotte Prep! We were visited by Mecklenburg County Commissioner (District 5) Matthew Ridenhour, Mr. Matthews and Mr. Turton from Mecklenbug County Parks and Recreation . They visited with the 4th grade students to hear, first hand about their Monarch Project. The students walked them through the year-long project and explained the causes of the decline in migrating Monarchs and how they were working to help restore the milkweed population in and around Charlotte. Commissioner Ridehour praised the students for taking initiative and being leaders in the community. He invited the students to come and speak at a county commissioners meeting in the fall to further spread the word.
Commissioner Ridenhour, Mr. Matthews and Mr. Turton listening to the students explain the project

Aneesh, James, Claire and Milaini with Commissioner Ridenhour

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We took another load of Milkweed to Renfrow Hardware this afternoon. They were really excited to offer the free milkweed to their customers. Here is Jake's blog entry about the experience:

Today we dropped the milkweed off at Renfrow's. Robert the owner said that they put out a copy of the article next to the milkweed. He said people were really excited to take the plants and help the migrating Monarchs. When we got there, I found out that all of the milkweed was gone because they gave it all away. We brought fifty more packs of milkweed to fill the section back in. I feel like I'm really helping the Monarch migration!

Jake, 4th grade

Robbie and Jake dropping off the Milkweed with David Blackley, Owner of Renfrow Hardware

What a week! We have given away over 1200 milkweed plants. We were also featured on the Facebook pages of Monarch Watch and for Renfrow Hardware

monarchwatch

renfrowhardware

Friday, May 16, 2014

Today Peyton, Claire and Miliani gave some milkweed plants to Gavi and Aubrey. Gavi and Aubrey are going to plant them at the Jewish Preschool on Sardis!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Help Us Save The Monarch Butterfly Migration


HELP US SAVE THE 

MONARCH BUTTERFLY MIGRATION!


Charlotte Preparatory School Fourth Grade Students have been researching Monarch Butterflies throughout the 2013-2014 school year.  The students have learned that the number of migrating Monarch Butterflies has been decreasing rapidly for the past twenty years. There are numerous reasons why. One reason for the decline is the use herbicides that kill Milkweed in farming. Another reason is urban sprawl. What used to be fields of Milkweed are now covered with concrete and buildings. Milkweed is the only plant on which Monarch Butterflies will lay their eggs.  Monarchs make a fascinating migration each year to hibernate to certain forests in Mexico. There was a record low number of hibernating Monarchs in the winter of 2013-2014,  the area of forest was only 1.65 acres, compared to the 17-acre average over the last 20 years. The numbers have been steadily dropping each year at an alarming rate. 


 Hopefully, if we increase the number of Milkweed plants we will slow down the decline of migrating Monarch Butterflies.                     

How can you help?
You can plant milkweed and various types of nectar plant. The nectar plants will attract the Monarchs and they will lay their eggs on the milkweed. There are two types of milkweed that are common in this part of North Carolina. They are Asclepias Syriaca(Common Milkweed)  and Asclepias Incarnata (Swamp Milkweed).

A waystation is an area that includes both host plants (milkweed) and nectar plants. There are a wide variety of nectar plants that can be bought at local nurseries. Some popular varieties for butterfly gardens include: Butterfly Bush, Aster, Black-eyed Susans, and Cardinal Flowers, to name a few. There is a wealth of information about Monarch Butterflies and how to become a certified Monarch Waystation at www.monarchwatch.org


Our Plants

Our students propagated our plants by harvesting the seed pods from our own Swamp Milkweed in the fall. Each plant produced three to four seed pods. We harvested approximately 200 pods. Once the pods were dried, the students removed the seeds from the pods and separated the fluff from the seed. We collected between 5000-6000 seeds from our small milkweed garden (about four by eight feet). The seeds next then had to go through the process of cold stratification. This is a process by which seeds are put through an artificial "wintering" process to mimic cold weather. They were wrapped in damp paper towels and sealed in bags. They were stored in a refrigerator for about two months. This process weakens the seed coat and helps to improve germination. 

Care Information for Our Plants

Name: Swamp Milkweed or Asclepias Incarnata
Type of Plant: The Swamp Milkweed is a perennial plant, meaning it will die back in the fall, but the roots underground will stay alive and it will bloom again the next spring. They grow to be three to five feet tall. 

Care: They prefer moist soil in full sun or partial shade. They do well next to ponds or streams.

  
Monarch Identification:
Egg
Caterpillar
Adult
                                                                                         
Chrysalis

Renfrow Hardware and General Merchandise

We donated 40 trays of Swamp Milkweed to Renfrow Hardware and General Merchandise in Matthews located at 188 N. Trade St. They are going to donate the plants to interested residents. Robbie, one of our 4th grade students helped deliver the milkweed. Here are Robbie's thoughts:

Today me and my dad went to donate some milkweed to Renfrow's. Honestly, I felt nervous because I didn't know what to say. When we arrived I thought that it was going to be hard to make them get the right idea of what me and the 4th graders were doing. I learned that they were getting a lot of requests for milkweed after the movie, Flight of the Butterflies came out. 

We donated 40 trays of Swamp Milkweed. That is about 240 plants. Even though I was nervous, it still made me happy to know I was doing the right thing and helping Monarchs.

Robbie, 4th Grade Student


                                                    Robbie with a tray of Milkweed

                                                    Robbie donating the Swamp Milkweed 
                                                    to Renfrow Hardware!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Today we were able to donate 23 trays (138+ plants) of Swamp Milkweed to residents in Charlotte. Not a bad start! 

Article in South Charlotte Weekly

Check out this article that was written about our project in the South Charlotte Weekly Newspaper:
http://www.thecharlotteweekly.com/education/2014/05/local-students-fight-back-for-monarchs/