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Manitoba's Marvelous Monarchs!

By Doug Collicutt

Monarch ButterflyMonarch butterflies have always been a part of my life. The first of these migratory butterflies to arrive back in Manitoba in June herald the real start of summer for me. As kids, my brother and I would traipse the fields along Omand's Creek in Winnipeg, butterfly nets in hand, with jars in our pockets to hold our quarry. In June the first adult monarchs would arrive and a couple of weeks thereafter we'd check out all the milkweed patches for caterpillars. Collecting and raising caterpillars, watching their miraculous transformation to adult butterflies, and releasing the fresh monarchs back to the skies was just something we did, naturally. I wasn't aware of how big a deal it was until my own children got into the school system. As they mixed with other kids and teachers, I began to see that the experiences that I had enjoyed as a kid, with butterflies and other critters (and was passing on to my kids) were something of a novelty to others. And that disturbed me. It bothered me enough to get me involved with my kids' teachers and with their school as a whole, and it bothered me enough to set the wheels in motion that have lead to what you're visiting now, NatureNorth.com. The critters and activities that I have taken for granted all my life weren't part of the education "system". At NatureNorth.com, we'd like to help change that.

Check out these projects:
Monarch Teaching Network Mission Monarch

Monarch on DanWhat's so important about a kid witnessing a big black, white and yellow-striped caterpillar transform to a jade-green chrysalis, then wait patiently to see the big black and orange butterfly pop out and fly off? It just involves the future of the planet, that's all! Far too many people are removed from the many miracles of life that abound in our own back yards. Just as so many have come to see food as something that comes in a cardboard box or in plastic wrap, and have lost contact with what sustains them, so too have they lost sight of the how the world works and how our actions upon it affect other living things. The wonder and appreciation that only direct contact with another living thing can instill in a child has lasting effects. Caring, for other creatures and their - and our - environment will not develop properly without such exposure. We owe it to the future stewards of our planet to take the time and effort to make sure they don't miss out on all the small miracles that surround them.

Carry on for More about Monarchs!



Attention all butterfly lovers!

Check out this new citizen science project: eButterfly. Now you can enter your sightings of butterflies and help build a great new database of North American butterflies!

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