Importance of butterflies, pollination focus of Earth Day Expo

Mason Central Elementary School students used tissue paper to create a butterfly for the “Scaled Wings at Work” project on display Saturday during the Earth Day Expo at MCCC. (Photo by Vanessa Ray)

Going green may have been the focus of Saturday’s Earth Day celebration, but a kaleidoscope of rainbows is what took center stage.

The crown jewel of the Earth Day Expo at MCCC Saturday morning was “Scaled Wings at Work,” a student-created climate literacy project exploring butterflies

For the 14th year, Healthy Monroe joined with local businesses and community members to put on the expo, which, in addition to the butterfly installation, featured children’s crafts, information on native flora, fauna and honeybees, as well as booths from various area vendors.

The display of butterflies, with their eye-catching colors and various textures, held court in the south end of the Gerald Welch Health Education Building.

According to the River Raisin Institute’s Sharon Venier, 15 classrooms from around MonroeCounty, one from Lenawee County and another from Toledo, all took part in the project. The purpose of this year’s topic — butterflies — was to create discussions about climate change.

“The children are learning about global climate change and caring for the environment,” Venier said. “Butterflies are pollinators. Without their help pollinating plants, we wouldn’t have food.”

She said all the creations were done by the children, who were proud of what they accomplished.

One of those proud children was 9-year-old Reese Walters.

A third-grader at Arborwood Elementary School, Walters said

she and her classmates brainstormed ideas to see what would work best.

“ We looked at a lot of ideas and found out a lot of us have extra plastic bags at home,” she said. “So we used those and made a pretty design.”

Lucy Morse, a 13-year old at Meadow Montessori School, said she and her classmates looked to capitalize on their talents.

“ We liked the idea of using patchwork because there are people in our class who like sewing,” she said. “ We did the front first and that’s where we came up with our color scheme.”

Morse also said her classmates decided to include some inside jokes.

“ We wrote up a bunch of notes and put them in the (butterflies) head,” she said.

She said they always looked to utilize items from home.

“ We told everyone to bring in wrapping paper,” Morse said. “Since it can’t be recycled, we thought we could reuse it.”

Venier said the students’ sustainable mindset gives her hope for the future.

“They have done such marvelous work,” she said. “These children are the ‘now generation,’ and they are really caring for the environment.

“It’s inspiring to see.”