By Judy Funderburk, Extension Master Gardener
The Carlin Hall Preschool children gathered round their teacher, Carly Moser, to release the Monarch butterfly they had nurtured in their classroom through all its wondrous stages. It arrived as a tiny black and white baby caterpillar that was found in the Monarch Watch Garden of the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden, chewing on Asclepias syrica (common milkweed). With daily feedings of milkweed leaves, it shed its skin five times (each shedding is called an “instar” and allows the caterpillar to grow into its next stage), finally becoming a gorgeous striped bright yellow, black and white two-inch long adult. The children checked on their caterpillar every day and waited impatiently during its two-week chrysalis stage. Finally, the chrysalis cracked open and the butterfly emerged, ready for them to take her outside and wish her well on her journey to Mexico!