St. Francis de Sales Science teacher, Jim Parquette, believes that science should not simply be taught in the classroom nor only learned through experiments. Science should permeate our every day and that is how he teaches our students.
One example? Mr. Parquette has created a Monarch Butterfly Way Station at St. Francis de Sales High School. The site provides the milkweeds, nectar sources and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America. Our site is certified and registered by Monarch Watch.
Through this garden, it is our hope that students learn about conservation, migration and metamorphosis.
“Over the last few years I have focused time on creating butterfly friendly gardens at the school. By providing a variety of host plants, the purpose of the gardens is to provide support for the butterflies through their entire life cycle.” Mr. Parquette will use this Way Station as part of his curriculum.
The host plants provide a place where butterflies can safely lay their eggs. A variety of nectar plants provides food to the adult butterflies, hopefully encouraging them to continue to lay eggs on the nearby host plants. The milkweed plants obtained for this project are meant to specifically attract Monarch butterflies. Other plants, including dill, fennel, and parsley were planted to attract other types of butterflies. “At this time we have raised six swallowtail caterpillars. Of those, three are currently in chrysalises and the other three have hatched from their chrysalises and have been released. We currently have three Monarch butterfly caterpillars that are thriving on milkweeds and should be cocooning within the next week,” according to Mr. Parquette.
It is our hope that the number of butterflies will continue to grow as the gardens continue to thrive and that students and children across the East Side of Chicago can see conservation, migration and metamorphosis at work in their community.
We are thankful to have great teachers like Mr. Parquette at St. Francis de Sales High School.