The Academy of St. Therese is now an official Waystation for Monarch butterflies and the students learn from hands-on opportunities.
The Academy of St. Therese in Cresskill started the school year with reason to celebrate. The first Monarch butterfly was released on Wednesday, September 6, the first day of school for students. Principal of St. Therese, Mr. Glenn Clark, released the first butterfly to the delight of some of the preschool children who were present.
Last Spring two staff members from St. Therese, Ms. Rosemary Iannone and Ms. Marilyn Fuhrmann, began working on a Butterfly Garden. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were petitioned to protect the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act. As a continuation of the STREAM Project (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Religion and Math) the Academy of St. Therese began the project to help support the Monarchs.
The New Jersey Master Gardener and the Audubon Society both partnered with the Academy and supplied not only advice, but seeds, milkweed plants and the official Monarch Waystation status. Further community support was garnered from the local Rotary Club as well as the Cresskill DPW who assisted with woodchips.
Over the summer, as Ms. Fuhrmann and Ms. Iannone finished with the plantings, a Monarch butterfly arrived and laid her egg. With a gestation period of only four days, the eggs soon hatch and begin their larvae stage. This is followed by the chrysalis phase and then to an adult butterfly. Timing was perfect, therefore, to release the first monarch the very morning students arrived for the new school year.