Last Spring/Summer we did a butterfly nature study. It was sweet, we purchased a popular butterfly grow kit off of amazon and observed painted ladies change from tiny caterpillars to beautiful butterflies. In the process, my then four year old learned what “metamorphosis” means and the life cycle of a butterfly.
This year she is nearly six so we are taking a butterfly nature study a little deeper.
My little guy will be with us and will learn informally as this years butterfly nature study unfolds.
This summer we are doing a monarch nature study and I have invited anyone who is interested from our local homeschool co-op. Sometime last year during our butterfly nature study we learned that the Monarch is at risk for going extinct. Monarchs often migrate to Mexico during the winter months in America. Several years ago Mexico experienced an early frost so severe it almost wiped out all of their population. Learning that the Monarchs very existence was in jeopardy encouraged my oldest to do something about it.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26
Interview With a Naturalist
My oldest decided that to “protect” the monarchs we should collect their eggs while they are in their most vulnerable state. Then observe them growing all while providing them protection in our home as they develop into butterflies. I gave this some thought and decided to interview our local nature centers Naturalist. I explained our intentions and asked what our best approach would be. This was the naturalists suggestions:
- Monarchs only eat Milkweed
- Find a field that contains milkweed near a farmers crop or along side an expressway. These areas are often sprayed with pesticides and the monarch eggs will die anyway.
This is what you are looking for:
(Monarch caterpillar egg, note that it is cream colored with pearly ridges)
Monarch Egg Hunt
Tips on searching for monarch caterpillar eggs:
- Monarchs lay one egg per milkweed leaf but near the end of summer they may lay up to two or three.
- If it is a sunny day, the eggs are harder to find so use your body to cast a shadow making them easier to find.
- Even then it may be difficult so bring a magnifying glass for each participant.
“You made (mankind) rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” (Psalm 8:6)
If you decide you want join us (regardless of your location) you can virtually. Join my Charlotte Mason Style homeschooling group and share photos of your caterpillar hunt and progress within the group.
I am very active in this group and do share my own photos and progress of our nature study finds. Feel free to join over 500+ Charlotte Mason Style Homeschoolers for additional support and encouragement in a virtual home education community.
We each keep a nature diary which is best described as a visual narration of a nature study. If your unfamiliar on how to start a nature diary, read this article here: how-to-get-started-with-a-charlotte-mason-style-nature-diary/
For this particular entry I recommend watching this You Tube video based on John Muir Laws of Nature Journaling:
My hope in writing this article is to inspire you to get involved with nature conservancy. Finding Monarch eggs that are at risk for extermination, keeping them protected within your home, and observing them grow until maturity is one way to do it. In my next living science article, I will explain how to create a Monarch Nursery and other necessary steps in keeping a home habitat.
What do you think about a Monarch Nature Study such as this one?
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