Tippit Middle School students are doing their part to save the monarch butterfly.
As part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Monarch Heroes program, Tippit Middle School received a $1,500 grant and an additional $500 from the Kiwanis Club of Sun City to start a garden for monarch butterflies, whose annual Mexico-to-Canada migration passes through Central Texas.
“Ninety percent of the (monarch butterfly) population has decreased over the last 20 years,” said Robin Blankenship, an eighth-grade science teacher at Tippit.
Blankenship is one of four teachers at Tippit involved in the Monarch Heroes program, which was developed in collaboration with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin to provide money to build gardens and plant milkweed to attract the butterflies. Tippit students, who are members of the school’s Monarch Heroes Club, are designing and building the garden that will also act as an outdoor learning center for other classes.
Blankenship said the garden will benefit students in several classes: students taking art classes will be able to paint or draw landscapes of the garden; those in science classes will be able to study ecosystems; and those in social studies can learn about the history and migration patterns of the butterflies.
Blankenship does not know how many butterflies the garden will attract but said in the future students will be able to tag visiting butterflies by catching and placing identification stickers on them to track where the butterflies travel. She hopes the garden will be ready before the local butterfly season begins between February and March.
Tippit is the second Georgetown ISD school to participate in the Monarch Heroes program. Pickett Elementary School opened a butterfly garden in August.
Ben Stave, an eighth-grade student at Tippit, said designing and building the garden is his favorite part about the Monarch Heroes Club.
“We can actually do something and have an impact on the school’s future,” Stave said.