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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

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St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
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Registered: July 2010
City/Town/Province: Arden Hills
Posts: 1
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It was on a cool, summer morning as I stood watching an orange and black adorned butterfly drift gracefully over the flowers that I realized that I had to do something to help the Monarch Butterflies’ dwindling population. For the past six years I had raised Monarch Butterflies in my backyard in an attempt to save the endangered species, but I soon realized that there had to be an easier and more efficient way to rescue them.
I realized that in order to save this beautiful butterfly, I had to keep the predators away. In the wild, only 2% of the caterpillars survive to adulthood because of the threats they face, like birds, spiders, and wasps. I conducted an experiment and started out draping a mosquito net over a milkweed plant (the Monarch’s host plant) that was covered in 10 monarch eggs. I wanted to see if a small contraption like a mosquito net could keep out the predators that usually thwart the Monarch caterpillars in the wild, causing only 20 in every 1000 caterpillars to survive.
I checked on the milkweed plant every day and soon realized the mosquito net was a huge success! 10 caterpillars had hatched and were devouring the leaves of the plant. I checked on the plant every day for three weeks and released any butterflies that had emerged from their chrysalises. It was a magical feeling. I had discovered the solution to saving the Monarchs. A simple mosquito net had raised the survival rate from 2% to 100%!
I took action by starting a group in my community called “The Monarch Nets Project”. Together, with over fifty volunteers of all ages, we put these simple nets on more than one hundred milkweed plants. By each plant we put a sign, donated by a local company, that read, “Careful: Monarch Rescue Underway.”
I was in charge of the area in Roseville, Minnesota at two parks- Hazelnut Park and Long Lake Park. Every day the volunteers would go check on the milkweed, record the number of caterpillars on the plant, and free any fully-developed Monarch Butterflies. Once the very last butterfly was released we compiled our data and release that together, we had helped save more than 1000 Monarchs, who, without the nets, would be only a mere twenty butterflies.
After our first successful season we began educating youth on the endangered species of Monarchs and telling others how they could help. We gave presentations at local schools, libraries, and community centers. Many people were amazed to find out the Monarch butterfly was endangered, and immediately wanted to help. They never knew all the risks that the caterpillars faced, like humans, birds, spiders, wasps, habitat loss, viruses, and bacteria.
I am so proud of my Apprentice Ecologist Project and the chance I had to collaborate with nature and save hundreds of tiny lives. Not only did it bring my community together to help with the Monarch Nets, but it also helped bring back an endangered species.
In the future I hope to set up Monarch Nets every year and help inspire others to do the same nationwide. Together, we can make this beautiful Monarch Butterfly as common as it was a decade ago. One day, I hope to write a book about The Monarch Nets Project, and maybe become a professional Monarch Migration Tracker to boot.
· Date: July 31, 2010 · Views: 2842 · File size: 69.8kb, 1267.7kb · : 2128 x 1424 ·
Hours Volunteered: 53
Volunteers: 57
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14 & 9 to 75
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