Connellsville Township Children Enjoy Having Butterflies in the Classroom

PIC PA PreK Counts Students learn about colors and clothing

PIC PA PreK Counts Students learn about colors and clothing

In January, Burchfield students were learning about clothes and for two weeks, students wore a specific color each day.   On January 12 they wore black and yellow to support the Steelers!  This day turned out to be their favorite color day of all!

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Head Start / Early Head Start FAQs The Private Industry Council discusses frequently asked questions for Head Start and Early Head Start students. Private Industry Council operates the Head Start / Early Head Start program for Beaver and Fayette Counties in the...

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How did the students in Connellsville Township 1 classroom like having monarch butterflies? They loved them! One student loved their wings, and another liked letting them go. Other students loved chasing the butterflies after they were released. When interviewed, the students told me how two of the butterflies were hurt and couldn’t fly away. “De-de-deformed,” was spoken in a quiet, three-year old’s voice. Two of the butterflies had deformed wings.

It was a great opportunity for children in our classroom to see the different stages of a butterfly. Every year Miss Dawn, Instructor, collected caterpillars at Youghiogheny Dam and placed them in a special netted container for her students to observe in the classroom. Milkweed was added to the container. Did you know that the monarch larvae only eat milkweed plants? It is true, and the reason Miss Dawn could find so many caterpillars at the Yough Dam is because of the milkweed. If you have ever visited the Dam and looked at the edges of water you would see a ton of milkweed.

The Youghiogheny Dam was built by the Army Corp of Engineers in 1944. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youghiogheny_River_Lake. During that time, students helped to collect milkweed pods for life vests during WWII http://nemasket.blogspot.com/2011/08/milkweed-pods-for-war-1944.html. My parents used to tell the story of how the milkweed got around the edges of the Dam. Some of those life vests made from milkweed broke and the seeds were scattered. Nearly 80 years later, the students at Connellsville Township have butterflies because the milkweed plant continues to re-seed themselves year after year.

Monarch butterflies are very unique and beautiful. The gold stitching at the top of the pupa is ornate as if painted on with a brush. They are the only butterfly species that migrate south, like birds, when the weather turns cold. The first-generation monarchs will head back north again in the spring. There are four generations of monarchs. Which generation do you think Miss Dawn collected for her classroom? It was probably the fourth generation. I can only imagine the butterflies that the students released last month are close to their destination.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/wildflowers/pollinators/Monarch_Butterfly/migration/index.shtml

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