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Westernport students participate in “butterfly release”

September 21st, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Mrs. Lisa Harris' Kindergarten class at Westernport Elementary School tagged and released their first batch of butterflies yesterday. Each child examined their butterfly to determine if it was a boy or girl before placing the tag from Monarch Watch on their butterfly. One of the butterflies had been released last Wednesday during the Discovery Center visit and found on the playground the next day. It was very weak and the tag had been removed. The butterfly was placed in the container with sugar water and fresh cut flowers in hopes that it would regain it's strength. If it wasn't for the imprint from the original tag, it would not have been distinguishable from the others. It was again very reluctant to fly away. When it didn't want to fly away, it was placed on a flower in the flower garden planted by Mrs. Harris' kindergarten class last year. By the end of the day, the butterfly had finally flown away. The children are hoping to hear that some of their butterflies are able to complete their journey to Mexico. If a butterfly with a tag is found, Westernport Elementary should be contacted with the information. The caterpillars were collected by Mrs. Harris in a variety of milkweed fields throughout West Virginia and Maryland and grateful to the farmers who have waited to mow their fields. According to Mrs. Harris, "It is heartbreaking when you see a field that has been mowed which you had just witnessed butterflies laying their eggs." The students have read stories, sang songs, completed sequencing activities, and watched the caterpillars change and grow while visiting the science center. The students were lucky this year as they were able to watch a caterpillar spin into it's chrysalis and a butterfly emerge from it's chrysalis. The class currently has four butterflies, at least 20 more in chrysalis, and nearly 40 caterpillars still eating the milkweed. Harris stated, "If anyone has any milkweed on their property, please allow it to grow, and wait to mow until the end of October. 
By leaving this beautiful plant, you are providing a home for the monarchs."

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