Weaver Lake Elementary fifth graders recently partnered with Boston Scientific, Pheasants Forever and other organizations to create a pollinator habitat on the Boston Scientific site in Maple Grove. For over a decade, the elementary school, which features a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused curriculum, has partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Monarch Lab to study and raise monarchs from larvae to adults following with their release. As a result of the program, students have successfully raised and released more than 600 monarch larvae. However, over recent years, the program has felt the effects of the decline in monarch populations.
“Because of the reduction in number of butterflies available for the classroom, the students were keenly tuned into the conversation around the current status of monarchs,” explains Karla Juetten, STEM curriculum coordinator at Weaver Lake Elementary. “The students wanted to do something to make a difference, so they conducted an advocacy letter writing campaign, highlighting the plight of the monarchs and other pollinators in our local area. Boston Scientific, just down the road from the school and a strong STEM supporter, agreed to set aside land on their property so that the students could plant a prairie.”
The students’ efforts are being assisted with a grant, along with maintenance support, from the local Northwest Suburban Pheasants Forever chapter as well as the Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The habitat will be maintained by employee-volunteers from Boston Scientific. In the coming years, Weaver Lake’s fifth-graders will use the area for research, including collecting data to monitor the impact the area has on the monarch population and other pollinators.
Additional contributors providing grant funding for this project include DuPont Pioneer, Bayer Bee Care and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund.