Sarah:Ahola, Mi llamo Sarah. Beinvienido a Just Kiddin’ Around,
edicion especial para ninos de Missouri Outdoors. Ok, sorry my Spanish isn’t very good. I took French in high school, and that’s not much better. But the reason for the espanol is to get you ready for a little trip
we’re going to take south of the border later in the program. The subject of today’s show is animal migration,
be showcasing species that live here in Missouri. Right here in your own backyard,
like this Monarch butterfly. He might be heading to the highlands of Central Mexico,
right now. Some of the colorful songbirds you see
in Missouri’s forest’s during the summer months are spending their winters in Central or South America and of course those Vs of geese overhead
are coming straight
from the tundra of the Canadian arctic. Wildlife is on the move, and they don’t
the lines we draw on a map. I mean, what an amazing story. How do these animals know where to go,
and when to go? Animal migration has been studied by scientists worldwide and they still don’t have all the answers. It’s wildlife without borders. Monarch Butterflies: they’re big, they’re beautiful,
they’re all over the Missouri countryside. But these same butterflies are called Mariposa Monarcha,
south of the border. Incredibly, all of the monarch butterflies in the eastern
United States, travel to Mexico in the fall. They spend the winter together
in a few small patches of pine forest. In the spring, they move north again laying their
on milkweed plants as they move north. These eggs grow into caterpillars,
pupate into butterflies, and continue north. Then in the fall, the butterflies born on the
head back to the same spots in Mexico, though they’ve never been there before. Let’s join this amazing journey at Shaw Nature Reserve
near St. Louis. Our tour guides?
A group of Missouri 5th graders. Gerald: There’s nothing like being out on the prairie
with kids catching butterflies. There’s no prettier sight: tall plants, wild flowers,
kids running with nets through the prairie, and they are absolutely elated when they come back
tagging stations saying “I got one, I got one.” Girl: Are you ready to go tag them?
Girls: Yes! Gerald: All three of you have one? Fantastic. Sarah: Gerald Axelbaum and Kathy Lewis
are 5th grade teachers
at the College School in St. Louis. They’ve developed a monarch butterfly theme for their class. Gerald: It’s kind of an amazing story. It started twelve years ago. I, one summer, had seen a little blurb
in a science
newsletter that was put out by Monarch Watch, Chip Taylor had put in a note saying he was
for schools or teachers that wanted to tag butterflies the coming fall to track the monarchs migration to Mexico. We made our own butterfly nets and we went
tried to catch butterflies and tag them. And just saw how much fun it was
for the kids
to chase after the butterflies. When we did catch them they learned a lot about them and the goal became to form a connection
for children with nature. Sarah: The fact that monarchs butterflies moved south
every fall was common knowledge. The mystery was, where they were going. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that the answer
became stunningly clear. Hundreds of millions of monarchs were discovered
over-wintering in a
few patches of forest in central Mexico. The question of how the monarchs accomplish
feat is still something of a mystery and something the 5th grade
at the College school is trying to answer. Gerald: And here we’ve got monarchs
migrating all across North America. How far are they migrating?
Peter? Peter: Two thousand miles.
Gerald: Two thousand miles they migrate. And what area are they going to?
This little spot down
here in Mexico; that is how big, Miles? Miles: Sixty square miles.
Gerald: Sixty square miles! Narrator: The town of Angangueo in the Central
of Mexico is the epicenter of the monarch sanctuaries. And among the millions of butterflies that come every
winter, some carry a signature from Missouri. Guide: (TRANSLATOR) They put tags on the butterflies
in the United States and Canada to see how many of them arrive here. Then, we collect them here and the biologists and scientists come
to see how many of the tagged butterflies arrived. Gerald: You know we tag the butterflies at Shaw Nature Reserve here in Missouri, and then the butterflies migrate south, and it is neat to find that they have arrived there, when we are lucky enough to find out
of our tags have been recovered. Student: Finally I’m up! Kathy: OK, Jake just put at tag on this butterfly, the tag says Monarch Watch on it
and has a number for identification. If this monarch makes it to Mexico we’ll be able to know
one we tagged in St. Louis at Shaw Nature Reserve. So it’s just great.
It’s a way to know that
they’ve made it from here to there. Sarah: So we are all going to Mexico?
Kathy: To see them, yes. Kathy: 5th grade is a great age to teach, yes. The kids are curious,
and they just are curious about everything. So you can just really get them involved in most any topic because
they have the skills to really pursue it on their own. Journey North has organized people
in both Canada and the United States to draw butterflies like you are doing to send them to Mexico so that the butterflies that you are drawing
will spend the
winter in Mexico with the kids in Mexico. And they’ll read your messages
that you have written on the butterflies, They’ll see what you’ve drawn,
and then they’ll write you a message and send them back in the spring
when the monarchs will be migrating north. Sarah: For the kids, it’s an interdisciplinary journey
through math, science, and art, all while exploring one of the great wonders of nature. Gerald: I love teaching students
and showing them the magic of the world, and just amazing sites in the world. I have a lot of curiosity,
and I guess I share that with my students because I’m always amazed at the things
that we can see outside. Sarah: One of the worlds leading experts
on the Monarch migration calls the Midwest home. Chip Taylor started the Monarch Watch organization to help unlock
some of the mysteries of this mysterious butterfly. These are the guys keeping track of all of
the St. Louis 5th graders tagged. And they’re keeping track of hundreds of other
just like them all around the country. It’s a huge job, but the data they collect provides
valuable information to scientists studying the monarch migration. Every summer Chip and his crew travel to Powell Gardens
Kansas City to celebrate the Festival of Butterflies. It’s sort of a family affair.