Oct 262011

Preschool student Kayla prepares to release a monarch butterfly.

Preschoolers have been studying the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Jessica Steines, an interpretive naturalist for Clinton County and a St. Joseph School parent, brought monarch caterpillars for children to feed and watch grow.

The caterpillars were very healthy eaters, and the children were surprised to learn that they ate only one type of leaf, the leaf from the milkweed plant. Students watched the caterpillars shed their skin, grow and finally make their chrysalis.  

When each beautiful monarch butterfly emerged from its chrysalis, the children helped determine if the insect was a male or female. The “girls” outnumbered the “boys” almost two to one.

Children recorded the date and location and placed an identification sticker on the wing of each butterfly. The butterflies were released and should be well on their way to their winter home in Mexico.

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