Mirabella the Monarch's Magical Migration Make-A-School Project. Pictured here are the student illustrators standing in the shape of a monarch butterfly.
Teacher helping a student release a monarch into the wild. (Photo by Judy Ganance.)

Help Save the Butterflies

And make the world a more beautiful place

At Parker Woods Montessori, we all love monarch butterflies. Like many species on our planet, monarchs face many challenges. The population has shrunk dramatically, and their great migration has nearly collapsed more than once. That made Mirabella the Monarch a difficult story to write because I wanted to help, but I didn’t want the story to be depressing or preachy. Eventually, I chose to focus on the inspirational qualities of the monarch migration as an example of how we can make the world a better place. And I decided to put the science on the website along with some practical ways to help.

Three simple ways you can help save the monarch butterfly

  1. The #1 thing is to plant milkweed in your garden. It is a beautiful, low-maintenance perennial flower.
  2. Almost just as important as milkweed is to include plants friendly to pollinating insects (butterflies, bees and more). Adult monarchs drink nectar to power their migration. Surprisingly, it means no green, grassy lawns. Try planting an indigenous landscape. Or a vegetable garden is a great way to support both you and the monarchs.
  3. And, like all things on the planet, the monarch butterfly appreciates a clean, natural habitat. So that means no pesticides, herbicides or other pollutants like car exhaust or garbage.

There are even more ways to help in the sidebar. And if you need a good reason to do all these things, read our book Mirabella the Monarch with fantastic illustrations by the elementary students.

Parker Woods Montessori butterfly garden in early spring.
Scott’s newly planted milkweed garden. I can’t wait to see my first caterpillar.
Male Monarch Butterfly and Milkweed
Male Monarch Butterfly and taking a sip of nectar from some Milkweed. Milkweed is also the only plant that monarch caterpillars can eat. Lots of students began their own butterfly gardens. We gave a pack of native flower seeds to every family. So, every family could plant their own butterfly garden.

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More stories about the making of this book

Finally, the best part of the whole project — the book celebration. We were honored to have hundreds of community members attend and support both the book and the monarch butterfly.
Like many species on our planet, monarch butterflies face many challenges. The population has shrunk dramatically, and their great migration has nearly collapsed more than once. Here is how you can help.
This is another one of my favorite all-time photographs. Unlike the past three photographs where I was standing on the roof of the school, this is photographed using a drone. It took hours of preparation and was called off several times. Read more about how I made this photos.
Footprint in the sand

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