Woodland Dunes Nature Study – Monarch Butterflies – How to make Seed Bombs for Butterfly Gardens

Woodland Dunes Nature Study

Thursday we went on an amazing field trip to Woodland Dunes in Two Rivers, WI. The nature study this month was about Monarch Butterflies. We were there a total of two hours. It started out where we met at the nature center. We left there to drive about 5 minutes away to hike on one of the trails.

Cone Flower Trail

The trail that we walked on was in a prairie at the trail name was Cone Flower Trails. You really had to watch your step as there was divots and stumps, and if you didn’t you were likely to trip. The prairie was gorgeous! If you listened you could hear the cranes in the chirping or whatever it is called, in the distance. We saw Monarch Butterflies flying all over the place. The reason for this was because of the fact they are stopping to eat before they begin their journey to Mexico. I was hoping to see some blue butterflies but we didn’t see any. We saw prairie grass, a bumble bee resting on some grass, a huge garden spider, some purple asters, and some beautiful yellow followers as well. I know I am probably forgetting something. We hiked probably about 40 minutes.

Monarch Butterflies

After the hike we headed back to the nature center. A lady named Ann who raises Monarch Butterflies was there to talk to the kids. We learned that Monarchs lay about 100 eggs but only 3 of them actually become butterflies. We learned the difference between the male and female butterflies. The female have thicker black veins. The males veins are not as think and they normally have a spot on their wings. We saw the different stages of real caterpillars and butterflies. The kids even learned about tagging the butterflies. At the end they put some nectar on qtips and one by one the butterflies came out to feed on it. When they had enough they flew away. These butterflies were raised as caterpillars and being launched into the wild.

Seed Bombs

The kids also made seed bombs. The seed bombs are everything that will attract and feed butterflies. In time you might also see caterpillars on the milkweed and maybe some eggs. For the seed bombs you take a small piece of clay to shape into a bowl, a pinch of soil, some cosmo seeds, coneflower seeds, black eyed susan seeds, and common milk week seeds. Then you seal it into a ball. You just toss it in a spot in your yard. The rain will break down the clay and you have soil in it for the seeds already. The best time to put the seeds out is in fall. We are going to throw one of the three seed bombs in the flower area. I am saving the other seed bombs for when we move as I want to start raising Monarch Butterflies too.

We also learned that the Monarch Butterflies could soon be on the endangered species list as they are losing some of their habitats. Fields are being plowed down and the milkweed is disappearing. Also trees that they rest in, in Mexico are being cut down. That is why they are encouraging people to plant  Butterfly gardens as well as raising them. I think it would be fun to raise them, and I think the kids would enjoy watching the process. We did learn how to tag them so we can help keep track of them.

We also learned that there is going to be a second generation this year that will make the trip to Mexico a little later as they are still seeing small caterpillars and chrysalis’s.

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