Peralta Trails Elementary students create safe haven for endangered butterflies in Gold Canyon

A Monarch butterfly with its broken cocoon at Peralta Trails Elementary.  (Photo courtesy of AJUSD)

A butterfly with its broken cocoon at Peralta Trails Elementary. (Photo courtesy of AJUSD)

Students at Peralta Trails Elementary school, at 10965 East Peralta Road in Gold Canyon, are doing their part to preserve butterflies, by providing a place for  butterflies to live and grow.

Students in the Ecology Explorers program at Peralta Trails created a schoolyard habitat, and, with the help of teacher Julia Goucher and master gardener volunteers Diane Weber and Gail Morris, were able to receive certification as a Monarch Waystation.

To become a certified Waystation, the students have grown butterfly milkweed, common milkweed, desert milkweed, lantana, thistle, and verbena; all natural foods for the monarch. Recently, the students discovered monarch cocoons and observed the butterflies emerging.

“We are all so excited about this because the colonies that migrate to Mexico are becoming endangered,” reported fifthgrade students Kayla Gilbert and Brooke Major. “In our opinion this is a really special experience because there are only about 50 million left and slowly they are becoming endangered and maybe even extinct. I know 50 million seems like a big number, but in this case it isn’t a lot.”

The Monarch butterfly migrates from the United States and Canada to warmer areas in the south for the winter. However, due to habitat loss in North America, the monarch migration is becoming threatened.

To learn more about monarch butterflies and how to create a habitat, visit www.monarchwatch.org.

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