Up, up and away

Art teacher Véronique Savage raised eight monarch butterflies and released them in front of the École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Thérèse-d’Avila student body, for monitoring during their migration period to Mexico and Florida. Glover photo

MARIONVILLE – The students of École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Thérèse- d’Avila released a total of eight butterflies back into the wild Fri., Aug. 30 after art teacher, Véronique Savage raised them up to be monitored by Monarch Watch. Monarch Watch is an organization that tracks butterflies from our location to Mexico, to continue a valued tradition in their culture.

“That’s where they migrate throughout the winter,” said Savage. They get there for the [Day of the Dead] and for many centuries, people thought it was an ancient spirit that would come back as monarch butterflies. They travel about 4,000 km from here in about two months where they stay until springtime and then they fly back through the US to Florida and the cycle begins again.”

Students have been helping with this project by planting milkweed; the only plant that monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on.

Majestic up close
The students of Véronique Savage’s class contributed to the project by collecting milkweed, a special plant that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on. Glover photo

“We’ve been collecting milkweed seeds since last fall and we planted them in the early spring to attract butterflies,” said Savage. “I wanted to have butterflies to start the school year. This year I started most of the work by myself but I involved three of the students here at the school, who are also my children, so they’ve been pretty involved with raising these butterflies.”

After lunchtime recess, Savage and the rest of the school’s faculty gathered the students outside at the outdoor classroom to release each of the tagged monarch butterflies. The children were invited to take a closer look at the butterflies and even hold them but not harm them in anyway.