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Stewardship in Action: A Monarch Habitat building school project

Steward Christian Kelly, holding an American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus, formerly genus Bufo) at Cobbs Creek Park.

Our last post mentioned the plight of the Monarch butterfly, and how Philadelphia, as an urban area, is uniquely positioned to help ameliorate this plight. Well, this spring one of our Philadelphia Water Stewards, Christian Kelly of the USchool, decided to take action to do just that.

Christain is taking an Environmental Science class at his school, and needed to do some kind of collaborative project as part of the class. He also needed to do a final project as part of the PWS program. Christian was able to do both projects at the same time, by presenting his class about the Monarch and then brining them to Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center. At the Center, his class participated in a “seed-bombing” activity. Seed bombs are clay balls surrounding plant seeds. These can be thrown to easily distribute seeds, and the clay provides a measure of protection to the seeds until they sprout. In order to make these seed bombs, Christian and his classmates first spent some time examining Milkweed pods in the Center’s garden. They then headed to the field across the Creek from the center to search for more seeds. With seeds they gathered, supplemented by a number of seeds provided by LHI, they made Milkweed seed bombs, which they then used to spread Milkweed seeds all around the field.

Our hope is that by next spring, the field will start to improve as habitat for Monarch reproduction. We’ll see!

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