Spring is butterfly season at our school. Every spring we buy caterpillars for each preschool room. Room 8 teacher Ann Pinkas explains that they eat voraciously (sugar water) for a week, then form a chrysalis inside the top of their habitat. “After about 10 days, they emerge as painted lady butterflies. When their wings are dry, we release them in one of our gardens.”
This year two kindergarten classes got butterflies too. In the photo above, Room 6 teacher Addy Morelli and some of her kindergartners are releasing four mature butterflies – where else? – in the Butterfly Garden. Their caterpillars were a gift from the Room 7 kindergarten, who received some for free when they bought theirs. Room 7 released their five butterflies the same day in the Seven Circles Garden.
The preschool rooms also get ladybug larvae every year. They eat the food they’re sold with for a few days and grow larger, then climb the sides of their “house,” where a hard cover forms over them. This is the pupal stage. In a week, they crawl out as ladybugs. The children feed them raisins until they’ve all come out, then take them to their new home in a garden. Gardeners like ladybugs because they eat aphids and scale bugs – thousands of them over the course of their lives.