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Butterfly program teaches Botetourt students need to be good stewards

Monarch butterflies are among the teaching tools in some Gloucester elementary classrooms this fall. Teachers use the monarchs to teach a variety of concepts, including the importance of pollinators, protecting their habitats and the overall need to be good stewards of the environment.

Last year, Botetourt Elementary science teacher Patrizia Smith funded a monarch project at her school with a mini-grant awarded by the Gloucester County Public Schools Educational Foundation.
Smith planted the monarch’s plant of preference, milkweed, in a small, tented garden area outside of her classroom. In what she called a “learning experience,” Smith said 36 of the caterpillars in the tented area escaped, leaving her with just a few.

Those that were left produced eight butterflies, which Smith’s students helped to tag and release in a program monitored by If the tagged monarchs make it to their wintering grounds in Mexico and are found by scientists there,...

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