Making Way for the Butterflies

“Pull, baby, pull!” Zander Cheathem put muscle and determination into getting out a small buckthorn tree. “Just cutting the weed off wouldn’t do much good, because you have to get it down to the roots,” teacher Marnie TenCate said. “That’s why it keeps being invasive”

The nasty invasive species and weeds that took over the Collins Elementary garden space have disappeared, making way for a new garden next spring.

Marnie TenCate’s second-graders and Karin Cramer’s fourth-graders made it happen as part of a STEM project. Students learned about how human activity has destroyed natural habitats, with one of the results being the decrease in monarch butterflies. Earlier in the school year, they watched caterpillars turn into butterflies before releasing them.

Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio

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