Kindergartner Sarah Rivera waves to a Painted Lady butterfly perched on a flower as fellow kindergartners Nicole Jones (left) and Kendyl Mendonca look on, after Creslane kindergartners released the Painted Lady butterflies they’d raised from caterpillars into the school garden. GINI DAVIS – THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
In an annual spring event at Creslane, kindergartners released fluttery new Painted Lady butterflies on May 16 that they’d grown and hatched from caterpillars. But this year, instead of releasing them into the tree line behind the school, the butterflies were released into the newly revitalized school garden.
”A butterfly garden (plants that attract butterflies) was planted as part of the garden, so we’re hoping the butterflies will find their way there,” said kindergarten teacher Cheryl Clancey.
In the school garden, prior to the release, teachers Chemen Clearwaters, Shawna Bradley, Debbie Larson and Clancey led the circle of kindergartners in singing some special songs – complete with fluttering hand motions – to encourage the delicate little winged creatures to ”fly away free.”
Teachers then opened the net enclosures in which the butterflies had hatched, and the colorful butterflies began taking wing.
When all had been freed, the classes tiptoed carefully around the garden, finding a butterfly resting on the grass, another enjoying the butterfly garden and another perched on a flower.
Each of the four kindergarten classrooms received a cup of five caterpillars from a supplier. Teachers guided their students in learning about the butterflies’ lifecycle, and students watched as their caterpillars grew, formed chrysalises and finally emerged, their metamorphosis complete, as newly-hatched butterflies, ready to embark on their expected two- to four-week lifespan.
”It’s a special thing every year; the kids are always really excited,” Larson said.