When Xpress asked local educators for ideas about the focus of the annual Kids Issue, two distinct ideas rose to the top: activism and a kid’s view of the world. This week we focused on activism. We received a cornucopia of submissions, including the one you see below.
The fall sun melts away the midmorning chill. Seventy-five kids from The Learning Community School stand in the town square with large paper monarchs on our arms: 90 percent of them are white, symbolizing the missing butterflies. We are preparing to “migrate” through Black Mountain, spreading awareness of the disappearing monarchs through the community.
Over the last decade, fewer and fewer of these butterflies have migrated from Canada to Mexico, due to environmental changes and the lack of milkweed (the only plant on which they lay their eggs) along their route.
In response to this startling decrease, Libba Tracy organized Bring Back the Monarchs last fall. The event included paintings, poetry and presentations by local artists aimed at involving and educating the community about the disappearing monarchs and what we can do to keep this incredible butterfly from going extinct.
Overall, 250 schoolchildren marched through the town, representing the butterflies’ incredible 2,500-mile migration. The march ended at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, where Tracy’s event was being held. Everyone who attended got a packet of milkweed seed to plant, a way we can all contribute to saving the monarchs.
Monarch haiku by students from The Learning Community School were also displayed at the Arts Center.
I trust that all this effort will bring some notice to the diminished monarch population, and things will start to change. A lot of what we, as humans, have done to the world makes us responsible for the disappearing butterflies. I hope that the participation of all these kids showed the community that we care. I want monarchs to be around throughout my lifetime. All of us need to act now to save them.
— Sara Bassett and Camille Ryan, The Learning Community
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