Student-Led Pollinator Garden Project

tagging butterflies and recording data on them

Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at Washington STEAM Magnet Academy studied native plants and animals of Pasadena as part of an ongoing native pollinator garden project. They documented their research using citizen-science apps such as iNaturalist, JourneyNorth, and The Natural History Museum of LA Citizen Scientists. Some classrooms tagged and tested monarch butterflies for parasites to help researchers understand more about the species throughout the LA region. The data gathered by classes was sent to researchers in both California and Georgia, and results on monarch health were later shared with the students.

Through the process of tagging and submitting data while at school, student teams were inspired to create a better tagging and reporting system by developing a QR code. Other projects included implementing art and writing skills to motivate communities to produce less waste, as well as engaging with city representatives in their local government about environmental issues. With the help of the Pasadena Audubon Society, teachers were also able to purchase binoculars for various bird studies, including conservation efforts for the California Condor. Additionally, the school installed a vivarium for more hands-on studies of flora and fauna, including studying the primary monarch butterfly parasite under microscopes before releasing the tagged monarchs into their new environment.