Saturday, March 24, 2012

This week the students at Kazungula and Kasane Primary Schools spend club time learning about butterflies! Ms Moore and Mr Lipa work with the kids to encourage their understanding of the importance of insects in wetlands systems. After reviewing the basics on insects and their body parts, we focused more on learning about the individual habits and lifestyles of these beautiful creatures.
            The students learned about the 4 main stages of the butterfly life cycle and how they undergo metamorphosis as caterpillars before they turn into what looks like a completely different looking insect. We discussed how different the eating habits are for caterpillars and butterflies, and how butterflies only drink nectar and water while their juvenile form will eat leaves and other plant matter.
            Butterflies provide some of the same benefits as bees to agricultural areas by pollinating plants but unfortunately they are at risk for several different reasons. The children learned that due to excessive spraying of pesticides on crops, the caterpillar populations in farming areas could be decimated, leaving little chance for butterfly populations to reach normal numbers. Our lesson also covered habitat loss as another reason that butterfly populations are threatened.
            After learning a few key differences difference between butterflies and moths, the kids got really excited because they made their own butterfly nets and got to run around looking for butterflies! Whenever a group of students caught something, everyone would gather around and determine whether it was a moth or a butterfly and try to identify what kind it was. Several of these butterflies will be kept and taken to CARACAL’s Biodiversity Center to become members of our butterfly garden.
            Next week the kids will continue learning about insects as we tackle everyone’s favorite eight-legged friend, spiders!

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