Todays Events - October 22, 2019

  • SCA Exec Mtg
    10 a.m. - CMS

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  • Oct 28th - Oct 28th, 2019 - BOE Regular Meeting
    6:30 p.m. - Administration Building

  • Nov 4th - Nov 6th, 2019 - Parent/Teacher Conferences – SHORTENED DAYS K–8

  • Nov 7th - Nov 8th, 2019 - NJEA CONVENTION — SCHOOLS CLOSED

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CMS IN THE NEWS
posted: Mon, Oct 21st, 2019

Emergence ceremony held

They’re not debutantes, but the monarch butterflies raised by Dona Scheidecker’s class were recently introduced to society with a special coming-out party of their own. At an emergence ceremony attended by all the school's students, the butterflies were released into the wild from their enclosures. Their destination: the fir trees west of Mexico City, more than 2,600 miles away. There they'll join all the other monarchs born east of the Rockies in late summer and fall that have successfully completed the annual migration. When you include the number of monarchs released in prior weeks, the class total adds up to an impressive 127.

The raising and release of the butterflies, known for their black and bright orange wings, is a project that Ms. Scheidecker has done with her classes more than a dozen times since 2004. The project provides a first-hand study of the monarch life cycle (egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly), reinforces elements of the science curriculum, and teaches conservation and the importance of protecting natural habitats. 

Ms. Scheidecker weaves in information about Mexican history and culture, too. The arrival of the monarchs coincides more or less with the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. According to traditional belief, the monarchs carry the souls of their dead ancestors on their wings. Mexican children living in and near the monarch winter home will receive paper butterflies created by the CMS students – a project completed through Journeynorth.com.

The class also tagged 50 monarchs through a program from the University of Minnesota. If the monarchs are found in Mexico, they can be traced to CMS. The tagging process allows scientists to track the butterflies’ migration. 

“I’ve had former students now in their 20s ask me if I still raise monarchs,” Ms. Scheidecker said. “It’s a project that stays with them forever and connects them to nature and the environment. So much is involved, but if I can help the population survive while teaching new generations of students to hopefully do the same, then it’s totally worth it.”

While the number of monarchs appears to have gone up in 2019, the species decline is staggering. According to recent studies, the eastern monarch population has decreased by 80% since the 1990s and the western population that migrates to California is down by 99%. Habitat loss, climate change, and pesticides are the leading causes. The monarchs only lay eggs on the milkweed plant, which is also the only food source for their caterpillars. 

Ms. Scheidecker starts collecting monarch caterpillars every July and brings them indoors, feeding and protecting them in netted enclosures.

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