Little Miami Intermediate Blog

Monarch Waystation Coming to LMIS

Posted on: October 2, 2015

They are beautiful. They are world-class travelers. And they are vanishing. But through a special project at Little Miami Intermediate School, monarch butterflies are getting a helping hand.

LMIS sixth grade teacher Stephanie Baldwin recently won a $500 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to construct a monarch butterfly way station on the grounds of the school.

According to the Cincinnati Nature Center, monarch butterfly populations have decreased 90% over the past two decades, mostly due to loss of habitat. Monarchs travel each spring from their overwintering sites in Mexico to their summer habitats in the United States and Canada. Along the way, they lay their eggs on milkweed, as it is the only food monarch butterfly caterpillars can eat. 

As areas have become more developed, milkweed has disappeared from the landscape, and in turn, so have monarchs.

In her grant request, Baldwin proposed creating the way station at the Intermediate school by planting milkweed seeds and other native flowering plants that adult butterflies could use as food. Her students will design and plan the way station, meet with a local master gardener to talk about native plants, and plant and grow milkweed seedlings indoors in preparation for a spring planting.

Baldwin is coordinating her efforts with the Cincinnati Nature Center, which is part of the Milkweed to Monarch program and is providing milkweed seeds to community organizations for free. In fact, Baldwin recently visited the Nature Center to learn about tagging monarch butterflies for research.