Caterpillars today… butterflies tomorrowPublished 11:21am Saturday, May 11, 2013
BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
NEWSOMS—As Amy Hinson’s third-grade class in Meherrin Elementary concentrates on daily assignments, a regular miracle is taking place within sight.
There’s a small jar in the room containing several caterpillars that are steadily making their way toward becoming butterflies. As of this past Monday, the caterpillars had suspended themselves from the bottom of the lid.
Hinson, who teaches science as well as reading and language arts, said she expects them to soon enter the chrysalis stage, and then emerge transformed in two to three weeks.
“I was excited when they came,” said Dakota Harper, 9.
“I think it’s kind of cool,” said Michelle Emory, 9. “You get to see them go from caterpillars to butterflies.”
In addition to Meherrin, third-graders at Riverdale Elementary and Southampton Academy in Southampton County, and Hardy Elementary in Isle of Wight County are also witnesses.
The caterpillars were not just plucked off nearby trees and brought indoors. In fact, they were given to the classrooms through sponsorship from International Paper and its partnership Earth’s Birthday Project. IP and EBP have teamed to provide butterfly kits to elementary school classrooms across the United States for more than 15 years.
“This spring, approximately 500 students in more than 20 classrooms in Franklin, Southampton, and Isle of Wight Counties are participating in the program to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly from start to finish. The butterflies are still in the growth stage and students will be releasing them in the coming weeks,” said Jenny Hutto, communications manager, Franklin Mill. “The IP Giving Team is looking forward to being in the schools and having an active role in the student’s learning and excitement on butterfly release day.”
“With environmental education as the backbone of the IP Foundation, Earth’s Birthday Project provides a great avenue for kids to learn about the importance of the environment around them,” Hutto added.
Students are also given a packet of sunflower seeds to start a home garden. To learn more about Earth’s Birthday Project, visit http://earthsbirthday.org/butterflies To learn more about how your school can participate in IP’s giving programs, contact Jenny Hutto: email@example.com.
Separate from the caterpillars in Hinson’s homeroom, the students are also learning about the life cycle of frogs. To help them understand that lesson, classmate Grace Pully, 8, provided several to see.
“I went fishing with my family and I saw tadpoles, and decided to bring them in,” said Pully. She acknowledged that she doesn’t like to touch frogs, and added her brother, Benjamin Pully, 10, loves them.
Hinson set up an aquarium for the approximate 18 tadpoles swimming about. She expects they won’t be fully developed by the time school ends in June.