PHOTO GALLERY — Local middle schoolers host Monarch festival, enjoy beauty of butterflies
Published 12:34 am Thursday, May 11, 2023
The Monarch Whisperers got together Wednesday for the first ever Monarch Festival at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
The festival is a part of an ongoing project at the school made possible through the Port Arthur LNG Environmental Champions grant initiative.
The Port Arthur Monarch Habitat and Conservation Center was established at the school through the grant.
This week’s celebration was brought indoors due to inclement weather. This led to a colorful hallway scene with balloons, vibrant umbrellas hung from the ceiling, and areas for art, face painting, lemonade, cotton candy, nachos and more.
The Monarch butterfly habitat is used to teach children about the importance of butterflies and how their migration pattern assists the ecosystem.
Science teacher and lead on the Monarch project Asther Reyes said students are taking part in a variety of activities related to Monarches, such as poetry writing, essay writing, art and a photography contest to be held during the Monarch release.
Angel Isaac Pulido Morfin penned a poem called Jewels of Michoacán, telling of the insect’s beauty and how people go to Michoacán to view the butterfly.
Reyes explained the significance of Michoacán to the Monarchs, saying the butterflies start in the fall in Canada and fly back to Mexico during migration, which is the route many generations have traveled.
Kelly Prasser, Sempra Infrastructure senior manager of external affairs, remembers when Reyes reached out as part of the Environmental Champions Initiative “which was really an initiative that we created to inspire projects like this and define these wonderful opportunities by innovative students and passionate teachers and staff and principals to really grow our environmental stewards at the youngest of levels.”
She said when they received this proposal about a monarch habitat in the conservation program, it is amazing to see how it has grown.
“And again, all the passion behind it,” Prasser said.