Our Monarch Waystation Butterfly Garden
It might have been a rainy day, but that did not stop the students and families from Whitehouse Prep from planting 154 native nectaring plants in their sponsored Community Garden at Cornhusker’s Park in Readington Township. “It was such a great feeling to see alumni from as far back as ten years ago and current families working together to create such a beautiful garden,” said Judith Serra, Head of School and founder of Whitehouse Prep.
About the Program
The children learn about monarch butterflies as a part of our experiential science curriculum at Whitehouse Prep. One of the main objectives of the Preschool and Jr. Kindergarten Curriculum is to learn to appreciate nature and then spread that appreciation of nature to the community as stewards of the environment. This community project gave them the perfect opportunity to carry out their stewardship for years to come. In addition to planting the plants, the families have all signed up for days to water and take care of the garden as well. This gives the children an opportunity to not only execute a plan that they developed but to learn responsibility and the importance of caring for nature. As an outcome of their curriculum “Tools of the Mind”, creating a plan and then doing what they planned is something that is taught at Whitehouse Prep.
Perhaps the most exciting thing that happened in the creation of this special community garden was that when the children and parents were creating the beds in, one of the children found a monarch egg on an existing milkweed plant. We took it back to school and fed it lots of milkweed leaves, watched it create its chrysalis and two weeks after the planting day, the monarch caterpillar emerged from its chrysalis and was released from the garden. It was a great moment for the staff and children to see it fly around their new butterfly garden.
KEEP ON GROWING
The teachers and staff are all trained through the Monarch Teacher’s Network and they all have a passion for making sure that this beautiful butterfly continues to exist. The newly formed Waystation at the Readington Community Garden is certified through Monarch Watch and its Waystation number is 19358. We will continue to raise and release butterflies from the eggs that we get from here. Last year we released 165 monarch butterflies by October. The community of Readington has a special place to visit and the children can go there to find eggs, caterpillars to take home and raise as well. This will help in our mission here at Whitehouse Prep to help the Monarch Butterflies. Each year brings a new batch of eggs and more butterflies to release with lots of fun and learning for all.