This fall CYC students got to watch two caterpillars turn into monarch butterflies! I (Program Coordinator Allison Stratton) brought in two caterpillars, and they lived in a 10-gallon tank in the Drop-In Center. Every day students came in and checked on the status of the caterpillars, waiting for them to turn from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.
After two days, the caterpillars climbed to the top of their habitat to begin making their chrysalis, and the next day they completed the process. Students crowded around the tank to get a look at the chrysalis. It was awesome to listen to students describe what they were seeing, many of them for the first time.
They were in chrysalis stage for about a week and a half, hanging from the top of their habitat making their transformation. For this time students started to get impatient wanting to see the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis. Simply responding “they’re not ready yet,” would make the crowd erupt in groans. Students had so much ownership of the butterflies, it was great to hear them question the process. It also gave us an opportunity to do some research with the students.
The day I walked in and saw that the butterflies had hatched, I burst into our full staff meeting and said “OUR BUTTERFLIES HAVE HATCHED!” We all took a moment and went to look at the butterflies fresh out of their chrysalis. I couldn’t wait for students to get here to see what they had been waiting for. We released the butterflies on the flowers in front of CYC the day that they hatched. They flapped their wings a few times and then flew into the world. This was the first time I have seen every student in the building stop what they are doing to come watch something.
Since releasing the butterflies, I have students tell me every time they see a monarch butterfly and question if it was one of ours. This experience was truly wonderful to share with CYC students.
Caterpillars first day at CYC
Caterpillar preparing to make their chrysalis
Chrysalis’ hatched into butterflies
Butterfly being released (the other was camera shy and flew away)