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Kyrene de los Cerritos Students Plant Waystation for Migrating Monarch Butterflies

Posted January 2023


Second-grade students and Garden Club members at Kyrene de los Cerritos Leadership Academy are assisting the Southwest Monarch Study by planting a garden of desert milkweed plants, which will serve as a waystation for monarch butterflies during migration season.

A small group of dedicated students meet bright and early Wednesday mornings to help clear weeds from garden beds to make room for the milkweed plants provided by the Southwest Monarch Study.

“Student leaders in the Garden Club have been meeting each week since late July to prepare the garden beds for desert milkweed to be planted,” said second grade teacher Eileen Byrne-Quinn. “The plants will be a stopping point for Monarch Butterflies as they migrate from colder climates to warmer climates south.”

Monarch waystations are spots for monarch butterflies to reproduce and refuel during their migration journey. According to the Southwest Monarch Study, milkweed is crucial to the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and is where females lay their eggs.

Studying the lifecycle of bugs is part of the curriculum for second grade students in Kyrene.

“Each student gets a mealworm and observes as they go through metamorphosis from a mealworm to a darkling beetle,” Byrne-Quinn said. “Students also care for caterpillars and observe them going through the different stages until they become painted butterflies. The butterflies are then released once they come out of their chrysalises.”

Southwest Monarch Study representatives visited the Kyrene de los Cerritos campus to teach students about the work they do to support monarch butterfly conservation. In addition to creating the waystation, students will also be tagging butterflies to help the Southwest Monarch Study track the butterflies’ migration patterns.

The Southwest Monarch Study is group of “citizen scientists” who report monarch sightings, monarch directional flight and tag monarchs to identify and describe the migration and breeding patterns of monarch butterflies in the western United States.