One Monarch Butterfly’s Amazing Migration Story
You may have heard the remarkable story of the Monarch Butterfly, named Journey that was hatched, tagged and released by Sisters Middle School (SMS) students in the fall of 2016. Boasting a record-setting flight, Journey managed to migrate all the way to Carpinteria in southern California — the longest recorded migration of any Oregon Monarch and Carpinteria is the farthest south that any Pacific Northwest tagged Monarch has traveled.
Born of an innovative and engaging learning project conceived by teacher Susie Werts, SMS students have become enthusiastically involved with the Monarch butterfly project. The venture which integrates curriculum elements from science, English, reading and the arts –supports the Sisters Middle School District goal of providing an integrated education that students need to reach their fullest potential. In accordance with school district core beliefs, this project encourages exploration and inquisitiveness, which allows students to grow academically and develop greater confidence.
Most SMS students are keenly aware of Journey’s amazing story and have been excited to participate in activities that encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and involvement in the writing process. Currently Ms. Werts’ 6th and 7th grade reading classes are involved in writing a book about Journey’s inspiring migration story. Middle school art students are designing pictures to illustrate each chapter.
Just in time for this year’s southern migration, the book will be published and available on Amazon.com by October 2017. Local author Jean Nave, who successfully helped Sisters Middle School students write and publish two previous books of student-based stories, is volunteering to assist the students in this curriculum-enriching project as well.
The Daughters of the American Revolution recently gave Ms. Werts’ butterfly program a conservation award in recognition of its educational enhancement.
Since there is very little written about the Western Monarch migration, this book about Journey’s record-setting flight will provide a useful teaching and learning resource for schools in the western migration territory; including Oregon, Washington and California.
Several noted science experts are collaborating on the project to ensure the information is accurate and informative including Dr. David James of Washington State University, who is writing an educational article for the book’s resource section.
Local artist, Dan Richards has offered his extraordinary talent to paint the cover art work.
Journey’s astonishing migration success has been reported in the Sisters Nugget Newspaper several times and documented on numerous websites including the US Forest Service. Once the book is published, the national Monarch butterfly community with whom Ms. Werts is working closely has pledged to get the word out to schools and other interested groups. Any profits generated from the book will go toward future butterfly way-station enhancements.
In an effort to continue their conservation efforts and foster greater awareness, Ms. Werts and SMS students plan to enhance the way-station this summer and will work with the National Wildlife Federation to get the Monarch way-station certified as a Schoolyard Habitat in support of their future plans to hatch Monarchs.
Long-term, students and teachers hope to develop the way-station to the point that Monarchs will lay eggs at the SMS site so that future tagged butterfly eggs will come from Sisters, negating the need to buy caterpillars from Klamath Falls.
Funds from this grant will help ensure that all Sisters Middle School students become more conservation-conscious and environmentally aware – most especially about the threatened plight of the Western Monarch butterfly and about ways to mitigate the destruction of this valuable pollinator.
Your contribution will help fund future way-station improvements and help pay publishing costs for the forthcoming book. Once published, It is our intention to give every student who participated in this educationally-enriching learning experience a copy of their published book, including students who helped write the story and those who created chapter artwork.