Pollinator Habitat Garden as an Outdoor Classroom
Establishing a Monarch Butterfly Way Station for Data Collection
Our organization, STEMS on the VINES/KC Creators Clubs, has been awarded a grant. The Captain Planet Foundation gave in-kind donations including standards-based lesson plans, seeds for students to germinate at home, trowels, a wagon to transport garden materials, child-sized aprons and gloves. Another pending grant award is from the Missouri Department of Conservation to purchase live native plants that Monarch butterflies need to nourish and grow on. We have three main objectives for this garden project:
1. Establish a Monarch butterfly certified way station.
2. Plant a habitat garden for school students as an outdoor classroom.
3. Use this as a model to create additional urban habitat gardens.
The garden will be an outdoor learning center for our KC Creators STEM Club and the surrounding neighborhoods. All grade levels will use the garden to support curriculum. STEM Club students will construct a solar-powered water fountain to nourish butterflies in the habitat. Materials for this will be donated by STEMS on the VINES/KC Creators Clubs. We also hope to have students use CAD to design a hummingbird feeder to be created on a 3D printer. A parent volunteer has donated a rain barrel for use in this habitat garden.
Experiential learning at the garden will demonstrate the importance of habitat, biodiversity, pollinators and the native plants’ roles in healthy ecosystems. The garden will be for citizen science as students collect data for research projects related to Monarch butterflies and other pollinators attracted to the garden.
The KC Creators STEM Club students associated with our organization will have the opportunity for data collection to contribute to a university Monarch conservation research study. Students will use the SEEK mobile app by iNaturalist to earn badges while learning to identify native plant species.