Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Side trip: Monarch Watch

One of the perks of living in a college town is that the school often has fun events for kids in the community.  Last weekend was the annual Monarch Watch weekend at KU, so Ben and I headed over to campus fairly early to make sure that we were there in time to get a chrysalis before they had all been given out.

The students of some science-y class take families through little centers in the building where they can hold caterpillars, watch a little video on the life cycle of a butterfly, hang out in a big screened-in area full of plants, caterpillars, and butterflies, and run the "seed separator" machine to comb the milkweed seeds away from the...well, fluff. 

 They even had little games with themes like "make the egg stick to the leaf".  Gage and I went to it several times when he was younger, and I've always been really impressed with how not-boring those college students can make science for the younger kids.

See how FUN it is??

They give each child a chrysalis of their own to take home and watch until the butterfly emerges.  (Each child, no questions asked.  I struggle with this a little bit, because I had to pass a background check to get my dogs from the pound.) 

Ben and I came home and hung the chrysalis in the window and went about the rest of our day. 

The next morning, Ben went straight to the window to check on his little buddy.  The chrysalis was split in two and a monarch was sort of clutching the window trim, trying to find something to hold on to.  Ben said that he remembered from the movie that the butterfly wouldn't be able to fly yet--the wings needed time to dry.  We took it outside and put it on a flower in the garden.

It stayed there for several hours, then finally flew away.  I know it's a little bit silly, but the whole process made me feel sort of weepy.  Pretty awesome though, really.

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