The Argonauts: An Exploration of Life

Success — More monarch butterflies and more young readers

Parker Woods Montessori mural close up. Caterpillar dreaming of becoming a butterfly mini-story.

Parker Woods Montessori mural close up. Caterpillar dreaming of becoming a butterfly mini-story.

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Here is a long overdue update about the book project. Pictured above is the the incredible tile wall installed this school year at Parker Woods Montessori by the PTO co-president and artist Kate Demske, art teacher Suzanne Nall and Rick Wolf of Wolf Custom Tile and Design. This could last a 1000 years. I hope my book lasts half that long! You’ll notice that I got an honorary spot in the middle of the blue panel. It may be hard to tell but this is a mini-story created by myself and 3 students. It goes like this: Mirabella asks the caterpillar. “If you could do anything, what would you do?” She dreams of being a butterfly. She grows into a beautiful butterfly. Then in the last square, she gets married and lives happily ever after.

I hope every student that sees this asks themselves the same question.

Below you’ll also see some more pictures of my garden. At the book celebration event, not only did every student get a free book, but they got a packet of seeds to help butterflies and other pollinators. So, I imagined our whole Northside neighborhood has about 500 new gardens. I planted about 3 dozen milkweed plants in my own yard. Milkweed is the only plant caterpillars eat. I also have about 5 giant butterfly bushes. These are like nectar gas stations for the monarchs on their long journey both north to the Great Lakes and back south to Mexico. So, I counted monarchs and got up to 26 this year. I think that must mean that there were at least 260 that visited my garden and are on there way to Mexico. I think I even had one caterpillar based on a defoliated milkweed plant. So, I call this a big success.

My first year here, my front lawn was nothing but grass and I never even saw one monarch butterfly. A few swallowtails, but no monarchs. It did take a lot of effort to terrace my yard and plant a garden instead of grass. Now I have created a whole ecosystem. Not only bees and butterflies but earthworms and all kinds of other things. And all this has attracted a flock orioles and so much more. I’m telling you a grass lawn is the next worst thing to a parking lot.

I’m hoping the butterfly count at Parker Woods Montessori is going just as well. I haven’t talked much about the book itself. But I have met quite a few kids and they all said they enjoyed the story. Just getting a kid to read a book these days seems like a win. And, of course, we got about 100 student drawings in the book about 150 honorable mentions.

And another BIG SUCCESS! We gave away 545 books to students, plus about another 60 books to teachers, libraries and other schools. since then I’ve met quite a few students that loved the book. One parent said that their child reads the book every night before they go to bed.

Once again, thanks to all the volunteers to make it happen!

Parker Woods Montessori Mural

Parker Woods Montessori mural.

Parker Woods Montessori mural close up.

Parker Woods Montessori mural close up.

Two monarch butterflies on a butterfly bush

Two monarch butterflies on a butterfly bush

Male monarch butterfly on a butterfly bush

Male monarch butterfly on a butterfly bush

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