Tweed and District Horticultural Society strives to encourage children to learn about various aspects of gardening. One of the initiatives that has been pursued in 2016 and 2017 is the provision of butterfly kits to our two local schools, St. Carthagh’s Separate School and Tweed Elementary School. We deliver the Painted Lady Butterfly kits to classrooms in mid-May. After ensuring that the teachers have all of the supplies they need and are comfortable with the process, we stand back and watch the kindergarten classes enjoy the development of these butterflies from the larval stage through the pupal phase to the mature adult.
Throughout approximately a month of study, the children observe the butterflies daily and record in their journals any changes that they see. By witnessing each stage in the metamorphosis of the Painted Lady Butterfly, they develop an understanding of the life cycle of these insects and of the importance of having them live in our gardens. The students write poems and stories about their butterflies, study the various kinds of butterflies that they may see in local gardens and categorize butterflies using specific criteria. The children light up their classrooms with their creative and colourful butterfly artwork and they may even sing a tune about their beloved butterflies. They, too, learn the value of caring for and working with nature. This wonderful unit of study culminates in the release of the beautiful mature Painted Lady Butterflies. While many of the children cheer as these majestic insects realize their freedom, some shed a tear at losing such good friends!