A collaboration between the National Wildlife Federation, CT Forest and Parks Association, and the LEGO® Community Fund U.S.
Thanks to the generous support of the LEGO Community Fund U.S., National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) have collaborated with 25 schools in Connecticut to develop Monarch recovery and pollinator gardens at each school. These gardens will not only provide much needed habitat for Monarch butterflies and other important pollinators, but will serve as key outdoor classrooms and learning centers for students to engage in what NWF calls Green STEM – Environment-based learning to increase students experiences and learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Schools will be supported by trained NWF Habitat Steward Volunteers as well as LEGO Employee volunteers.
As part of the program, each of the schools participated in a day-long professional development training held at the CFPA headquarters. Educators learned about the ecology and habitat needs of pollinators, plant and pollinator relationships, learned to assess their own school grounds for wildlife habitat and develop a plan of action for their Monarch Recovery Gardens. As well they were introduced to NWF’s Eco-Schools USA and Schoolyard Habitats® programs which will provide them with a guiding framework and resources to implement the program at their schools. Educators were armed and ready with resources and knowledge to go back to their schools and engage their students in Monarch recovery. Schools also received a $500 action grant to be used in the development of their gardens.
The Monarch Mission Recovery Gardens program has been developed to be a long-term program for the schools. Specific K-12 curriculum is being developed that will provide long-term learning experiences that will allow students to:
Under this program, NWF and CFPA have also recruited and trained a cadre of NWF Habitat Steward volunteers to help support the schools in the development and maintenance of their gardens, as well as the use of the gardens as outdoor classrooms. These volunteers participated in 24 hours of training held over 4 different sessions. The LEGO Community Fund U.S. will also support the program with a number of employee based volunteers who will work with the schools in the fall and engage with students through hands-on based activities and garden related programming.
CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor, CT is participating in the Monarch Mission Program. This spring they were able to plant three pollinator gardens on the campus, including over 30 milkweed plants they received from Monarch Watch as well seedlings that the students raised in their classrooms. As part of the Eco-Schools process they also integrated the community into their program by working with local businesses that helped to support their efforts by donating topsoil, compost and additional perennials.
To learn more about the Monarch Butterfly and how your school can get involved visit the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-School USA program Monarch Resources Page.
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