Symmes Elementary students learning to save monarchs, preserve environment

Brooke Rohner, A 2nd Grade Student, Working On A Monarch Poster

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - "Save, save, save the monarchs, plant your milkweed seeds, butterflies are declining, they all need our help," sang 2nd grade students at Symmes Elementary.

Symmes Elementary was in song to start the month of May, and the song about monarchs was to raise awareness about problems they are facing.

"We know that monarchs are decreasing. Their population numbers have gone down significantly for multiple different reasons: pesticides and the climate changing around them. They need these milkweed seeds and leaves to feed on, as well as for the caterpillars to lay the eggs. This is something - taking a step back - that we can try to have an impact on," said Mrs. Brie Schafer, a 2nd grade teacher at Symmes Elementary.

Students created many colorful posters, wrote letters, and highlighted the importance of monarchs on paper bags distributed at local Meijer stores. They found happiness in knowing they were making a difference.

2nd grade student Brooke Rohner said, "I like helping. We don't what anything going away because everything is important.

"They just make the world a more beautiful place," said Owen Shell, a 2nd grade student at Symmes Elementary.

Madison Thompson, another 2nd grade student explained, "If monarchs go extinct, then bees will go extinct. A lot of our food is made from bees."

"I think it just gets the kids excited. I think they really take ownership when they have a part, and they can go home and tell their neighbors, 'Hey, look at this! I made it!'" said Schafer.

Symmes Elementary's love for monarchs isn't just a temporary thing. The school became a home to a monarch weigh station 4 years ago, and many feel that this garden with milkweed plants is essential to minimize the impact from urban development, genetically modified crops, and climate change.

I think with the monarch weigh station, they are trying to track some of that and see how that impacts the population of the monarchs as well," said Schafer.

Whether in the garden, in the classroom, or creating a monarch habit at home, teachers are thankful students are seeing the impact they can have on the environment.

Schafer said, "It was kind of nice to get them in some projects that incorporated a bunch of things. It's exciting to see this learning take place where they really take ownership of themselves."

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