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Midwest Region
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South Ripley Elementary School planting native plugs. Photo by Susan Knowles/USFWS.

South Ripley Elementary School planting native plugs. Photo by Susan Knowles/USFWS.

Schoolyard Habitats for Monarchs in Indiana

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program is dedicated to help landowners conserve, enhance and restore monarch habitat. Susan Knowles, a Partners Program biologist in Indiana, has been working hard to help schools, student science clubs and local communities create educational monarch waystations in support of the Save the Monarch Butterfly initiative with schoolyard habitats.  Recently, Knowles assisted with four schoolyard habitats in several different counties to support monarch habitat in Indiana.

May 15, 2015 - Knowles and volunteer Carroll Ritter coordinated and assisted 100 students and 20 staff to establish a two acre monarch waystation at Heltonville Elementary School in Lawrence County. The new schoolyard habitat will host outdoor education classes to educate students on how monarchs and other insects can help the natural environment. This particular waystation was designed with a newly constructed deck so that community members have a designated area for birdwatching or quiet reading.

May 20, 2015 - The Salem High School Science Club established their monarch waystation in Washington County. 25 students, with the help of Knowles were able to quickly establish a schoolyard habitat. The science club will continue to enhance the area with environmental education signs about monarchs and the importance of pollinators to the environment. This schoolyard habitat will enhance another part of the 60-acre school habitat to help educate more than 2,000 students. Though, it is important for students to learn about monarchs, the location of the schoolyard habitat is between a YMCA and a senior center, which opens learning opportunities for the entire community.

May 23, 2015 - 30 kids and their parents came together in Dearborn to establish an educational schoolyard habitat for their local community to explore and learn from. This schoolyard habitat was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Hidden Valley Lake Property Owners Association, three Hidden Valley Lake Natural Resource Task Force members,  Children Civic Leaders and the Partners Program. Each family received their own plot and native plant plugs, allowing for individual family planting and care of the plants. Plots were labeled and named after each family so that they can be contacted to see if any eggs, larva, or adult monarch butterflies have been found.

May 26, 2015 - Knowles and Ellen Mulford of Capability Farms coordinated a large planting event of 700 native plant plugs at the South Ripley Elementary School in Ripley County. More than 640 students and 50 staff attended this planting event to create a 3 acre outdoor educational area for all the students and community members. As soon as the planting was done, a pleasant rainfall came to hydrate the freshly planted plugs. South Ripley Elementary School will install several educational signs that will describe the benefits of monarchs, prairies, wetlands and forests.

Each of these communities has taken another important step closer to help educate their members and kids on the importance of forest, prairie and wetland habits not only for the monarch butterfly, but for all wildlife. Coordination between natural resource groups and schools like these make a huge difference for local communities and monarchs. As the Partners Program continues to support the Save the Monarch Butterfly initiative, they will always be around to help landowners. Nationally, the Service plans to assist in creating or maintaining more than 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens on Service lands or through partnerships with schools and other community facilities.

To learn more about the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/partners/

To learn more about the Save the Monarch Butterfly visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/monarch/

To learn more about the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program please visit our website.

To learn more about the Save the Monarch Butterfly visit our website.

By Alejandro Morales
Regional Office – External Affairs

and

Susan Knowles
Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge

Group of students with a Monarch Waystation Sign. Photo by Susan Knowles/USFWS.

Group of students with a Monarch Waystation Sign. Photo by Susan Knowles/USFWS.

Elementary School students gathered to plant. Photo by Susan Knowles/USFWS.

Elementary School students gathered to plant. Photo by Susan Knowles/USFWS.

Hidden Valley Lake Property Association planting plugs with their family and community members. Photo by Susan Knowles/USFWS.

Hidden Valley Lake Property Association planting plugs with their family and community members. Photo by Susan Knowles/USFWS.

 

Last updated: August 3, 2015