Saturday, November 26, 2011

Monarchs - Raising, Releasing, and Embroidering Them - Art Every Day Month - Day 26

Yesterday and today I worked on the 11th embroidered and appliqued square for the Minnesota state quilt that I'm making during Art Every Day Month.

This square shows a monarch butterfly - Minnesota's state butterfly. Minnesota adopted the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) as the official state butterfly in 2000.

There's more information about how fourth-graders began the process of designating the monarch as the state butterfly HERE. It's on page 17 of the Minnesota House of Representatives' weekly publication.

Monarch caterpillars appear to feed exclusively on milkweed, which grows throughout Minnesota. According to State Symbols USA, both caterpillars and butterflies are brilliant in color as a warning - the monarch ingests toxins from the milkweed plant which are poisonous to predators.

The male butterfly has small black dots on its lower wings - females do not.

Each year, Sophia and Olivia look for monarch caterpillars around the backyard and in the pastures. They've successfully raised and released many butterflies throughout the years.

Raising Monarchs in 2008

Each fall, once the milkweed pods are ready, they release the seeds from the pods that don't open on their own.

Girls Spreading Milkweed Seeds

Watching the seeds float away in the air and randomly land gives them hope that there will be new milkweed plants in other areas around the farm...and more butterflies visiting them in the future.

Floating Milkweed


Rita said...

Oh, wow! I can't believed you sewed that monarch! Very pretty. I grew up in Fridley, Minnesota and I can remember thousands of them in the wild fields near the lake. Then they built a school and houses--covered up the fields and I rarely ever saw a monarch again. :( They hold a special place in my heart. You can never forget standing in the prairie grass with your arms spread and being covered with monarchs! :):)

Carol said...

Love your butterfly and the pics of the kids and the butterflys are so good.

rajns (carolyn) said...

This is going to be an amazing quilt. I'm really enjoying seeing each square!