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A Guide to Growing a School Butterfly Garden

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

For teachers interested in a habitat conservation project that will provide students with a wide range of outdoor learning opportunities, butterfly gardening is definitely something to consider.  In addition to being among our most beautiful and exquisite creatures, butterflies play an essential ecological role as pollinators. It is for this reason that ecologists world-wide are very concerned about population declines in many of our butterfly species.  Because the single biggest cause of these declines is habitat loss, planting for butterflies is a key conservation strategy. Participation in this project will also allow students to make a meaningful and lasting improvement to their school environment.

The resource provides an easy to follow step by step set of instructions with all of the background information needed to support the project and ensure success.

Early April is a great time to launch these activities as the butterflies are just now leaving their wintering grounds and headed home.  There should be ample time to select seeds, get them started indoors, prepare the site and transplant the seedlings before the influx of adults in late May or Early June.

Additional information and supplementary plant lists are available from Monarch Watch

 

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

Butterfly gardening has meaningful application across the curriculum.  It provides students with authentic opportunities to act on what they have learned in courses such as Science 3 (plant growth), Science 4, 7 and 10 (Habitat / Conservation), Environmental Science & Geography (Human-Environment interractions / Sustainability). The ecological and aesthetic benefits of student's actions will be readily observable.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Ecological Principles
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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Community-Building and Participation
  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Habitat Loss
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

    • Habitat Restoration
    • Planting Native Species