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Students at Messiah Lutheran Classical Academy in Keller, TX show off some pollinator plants before adding them to their school grounds! Read more in the "MWN Spotlight" section below...

As the school year closes and your students' lose focus, do everyone a favor and go outside!

As many of you ride out the final, hectic weeks of this school year, carving out even a few minutes to take your students into your pollinator gardens, becomes more important than ever. Even a short break to identify some young perennials can provide a much-needed respite for all of your students (and for you, too!) I have found in my teaching experience that taking my students outside like this helps curb their anxieties, helps even the most energetic kids seem calmer, helps lift moods, and actually boosts their performance in the classroom. It's easy to think we may be wasting precious "instructional time", but these breaks can lead to fewer behavior challenges and improved performance, not to mention the instruction that can occur in the garden! 

Want to keep your students outside longer? Allow them to free write or draw while they observe their surroundings; have partners work to identify plants, insects, or soil components; have them read their assigned novel, work on their math, social studies or science... whatever class work they have to do, they can likely do outside!

If you need more ideas of lessons and activities for the garden, head over to the Curricula page of the Monarch Waystation Network website. Although it isn't currently maintained, it remains a resource worth perusing.
Dr. Taylor's Population Prediction
"...the population will increase this year..."

You read that right! According to Monarch Watch Director, Dr. Chip Taylor, who has improved his population-predicting capabilities, "this season should see the population rise above 3 hectares...up from the 2.48 hectares in the 2017-18 season." There are many factors Dr. Taylor incorporates into his reasoning. Simply stated, the primary condition leading to this prediction came from the 20-plus years of data on how the population responds to a variety of weather patterns. Dr. Taylor declared in a recent blog post that above-average temperatures in the South Region in March and April, coupled with below-average temperatures in the regions directly north, in essence kept the monarchs from moving north too soon. Moving north too soon means there are not enough milkweeds yet to support the breeding migration, which is what occurred last year. Using these variables, along with other pertinent data, the prediction was made....and right now, any bit of good news is a welcoming sound!

For a more in-depth explanation of the factors leading to this bit of good news, check out the two Monarch Population Status posts on the Monarch Watch Blog. For some of you secondary teachers, there are some fabulous lessons within the text and visuals of this blog post.
2017 Tag Recovery Data
The long wait is over...
For many of you with students hungry for news about the monarchs they tagged back in the fall, it has been a long wait. However, the data from the 2017 tagging season is now available to view on the Monarch Watch Website. Gather up your students, refresh the eager anticipation they had after tagging "their monarch", and head over to the following links to find out if one of their tags was recovered. 

Their are two sets of data:
The first consists of all the tags recovered at or near the overwintering sites in Mexico. Tags are listed in alphabetical order by tag codes.

The second consists of the tags recovered in the United States or Canada. These data are displayed a bit differently- on a Google Map. To search for a specific tag using the map, go to the "list" tab, click the arrow next to the "TAG" header and select "Sort A to Z" to sort the list by tag code

Hopefully one of your student's tags was recovered! If it was, don't forget to download and print one of our Tag Recovery Certificates! Click the following link to get more details.

Monarch Watch thanks you for your patience awaiting tag recovery news. We realize it is a very long wait for students who tag monarchs in the fall to wait until April/May for any word on their tag. We hope to instill a better system for keeping your students' interest alive in the coming years, as it relates to the long wait for tag recovery data to be compiled and released.
The MWN Spotlight is on...
Messiah Lutheran Classical Academy- Keller, TX

The following article and pictures were provided by MLCA Principal, Betsy Kirk:

Messiah Lutheran Classical Academy is located in Keller, Texas. Part of our kindergarten curriculum is the study of butterflies. Ten years ago, our kindergarten class found a beautiful caterpillar in a field, nearby. Knowing nothing about caterpillars, we set about researching and quickly discovered the magnificent world of the Monarch caterpillar. Ten years later, our program involves over 130 students and classes from kindergarten to our botany class in grade eight. The classes plant flowers, gather milkweed pods and also observe the Monarch life cycle in their very own classrooms. We have had the joy of releasing as many as 80 healthy Monarchs in one year! In addition, students at MLCA have the opportunity to learn about milkweed and plant native seeds in their own backyard. Please visit our website at for more details about our school and our Monarch Waystation.


*If you would like your school to be featured in a future newsletter, please email me at

Migration News
According to Elizabeth Howard of Journey North, "Monarchs have now expanded across 1 billion acres of breeding habitat..." If you are in states as far north as Minnesota or Massachusetts, monarchs have just begun to reach you! It has been reported to Journey North that the northernmost monarch has now reached latitude 45 degrees north. Get your students involved with the virtual migration by having them report first sightings, newly-emerged milkweed, and more! To find out more, visit Journey North.
Contribute to Future Newsletters
Please consider contributing to a future MWN Newsletter...

A monarch stops for nectar at the Messiah Lutheran Classical Academy.
Photo submitted by MLCA Principal, Betsy Kirk.

  • Let us "Spotlight" your school and students, just like we did with Henderson K-12 Inclusion School. This is a great way to show your administrators, colleagues, student's parents and community members that what you are doing is extremely important work! If you would like this opportunity, please send your story, pictures (as .jpg file attachments), and any other pertinent information to
  • Share your expertise with others! If you have direct experience with specific topics, such as: co-existing with your school district's maintenance crew when planting milkweed; garden pest management; amazing curricula ideas; grant opportunities for teachers; building partnerships with colleagues, administrators, parents and community members; or any other topic you feel could benefit other MWN participants, please email me!
Thank you all for everything you do! You are part of the solution, and your energy truly makes this world a better place:)
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