Celebrating Our Monarch Heroes

Students, parents, teachers, and community members came out to the National Wildlife Federation’s Monarch Heroes Spring Fun and Recognition event on April 30th. Held at the Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center, NWF’s demonstration schoolyard habitat in the Austin ISD, the event was a great way to celebrate the end to a very successful first year of our Monarch Heroes Program. We launched Monarch Heroes – an environmental education and community outreach initiative that is part of our Eco-Schools USA program – in 10 Austin schools last fall.

Mathews student using a microscope. Photo by Marya Fowler

Through the Monarch Heroes Program, students learn about why the monarch butterfly is in decline and take action on its behalf by designing and creating monarch habitat gardens on their campuses with native milkweed and nectar plants. Several participating schools showcased their outstanding work at the recognition event.

The students chronicled their projects with photos of school habitats and students and community members building the habitats, and presentations of their projects taking shape. Students created murals and posters to help educate the public about the decline of the monarch and what actions they can take to help.

“Words cannot describe the impact that Monarch Heroes has had on my teaching and our school environment!” – Diana McMillan, Mathews Elementary

One school displayed a model of the Oyamel forest where the monarchs overwinter in Mexico, while another school had native milkweed plants complete with caterpillars and live examples of the monarch in all 4 stages of its life cycle!

Monarch Heroes from Patton Elementary School
Monarch Heroes from Patton Elementary School. Photo by Marya Fowler

The National Wildlife Federation recognized the outstanding achievement of these Monarch Hero schools with award certificates and prizes. Event attendees also enjoyed live music, face painting, arts and crafts and Monarch Jeopardy!

Ranger Rick with Monarch Hero awardees
Ranger Rick with Monarch Hero awardees. Photo by Grace Barnett

Hector Hernandez, a teacher from Burnet Middle School said, “The Monarch Heroes event gave our students the chance to connect with students from other schools and unite for the monarch cause.” When asked what he liked best about the event he said, “the best part was meeting other students and teachers from the district who are also Monarch Heroes”.

Michael Massad, a teacher from Patton Elementary said, “The Monarch Heroes program has helped members from all parts of our community find an outlet for making the world a better place. We have so many students, families, business members, and staff who are itching to do good things and jumped at the chance to help us with our butterfly garden.”

We could not be more proud of these awesome schools and the enthusiasm and commitment of their students and teachers. They are our heroes!

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