2018-09-12 / Front Page

Pettisville Students Raise, Then Release Monarch Butterflies


Sophie Wyse, a Pettisville third grade student, prepares to pass a monarch butterfly raised in Jodi Yeager’s classroom. The students sing to the butterflies, then release them to begin their journey to Mexico. The day this photo was taken, five monarchs were released.– courtesy photo Sophie Wyse, a Pettisville third grade student, prepares to pass a monarch butterfly raised in Jodi Yeager’s classroom. The students sing to the butterflies, then release them to begin their journey to Mexico. The day this photo was taken, five monarchs were released.– courtesy photo Dora, Caleb, Sam, Joseph, Jack, Cassidy, Katrina, Bob, and several others have departed Pettisville Elementary School for Mexico.

They’re monarch butterflies, raised in Jodi Yeager’s third grade class.

In the third grade, “We have to teach life cycles of plants and animals,” Yeager said.

“When I started teaching third grade, they had been doing this for a number of years, so I just kept the tradition going.”

Since the butterflies progress from egg to adult in about a month, students can see an entire life cycle.

The cycle moves from eggs, which Yeager said are very tiny, smaller than a pinhead. They’re light yellow and are always on the bottom of a milkweed leaf.


An adult monarch butterfly hangs upside down in the aquarium in Jodi Yeager’s third grade classroom at Pettisville. Students will raise and release about 60 monarchs this year.– photo by David Pugh An adult monarch butterfly hangs upside down in the aquarium in Jodi Yeager’s third grade classroom at Pettisville. Students will raise and release about 60 monarchs this year.– photo by David Pugh Next is the larvae, or caterpillar phase. As a caterpillar, they’ll eat about 30 leaves of milkweed over a two-week period.

That’s followed by the pupa stage, when the caterpillar forms a chrysalis, hanging from a horizontal surface such as the bottom of a milkweed leaf or a screen over an aquarium, as in Yeager’s classroom.

Just before the adult butterfly emerges, the chrysalis turns clear, and students can see the butterflies ready to emerge.

Yeager said the students get involved in the butterfly project.

“I always invite the kids to collect the caterpillars and eggs.

“One day, I had two girls bring in 40 caterpillars, and we already had about 20.

“So they help bring in milkweed and everything,” she said.

She allows each student to name a butterfly. This year, with about 60, every student was assured of naming at least one.

The adults are then taken outside. Students who wish can hold a butterfly, then pass them around.

“We sing a little song to them that we learned about butterflies, and then we send them on their way to Mexico.”

So far, her students have released 24 butterflies.

If you happen to be traveling in Mexico and run into Bob, tell him the kids at Pettisville said hello.

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