The American School of Las Palmas is preparing a project to save the beautiful Monarch Butterfly which is an endangered species. Our biology teacher and project overseer Mr. Remo Velardo came up with the idea. Initially he bought a few varieties of the asclepias plants and ever since has been obtaining their seeds. The Monarch Butterfly can smell this plant for over 20 km. and will fly to where this plant is located. We now have anywhere from 300-400 seeds of this plant which will be placed around the The American School of Las Palmas campus.
The interesting fact is that even though we have a few asclepias, there are already numerous butterflies and monarch caterpillars that are attracted to this plant. They eat all the leaves for about two weeks and then form cocoons. After this, they become the Monarch Butterfly. For the past two months, it is not strange to see Monarch Butterflies flying around the campus daily. After the Monarch caterpillars eat all the leaves, more grow again.
In addition, the biology students are helping with the project on different levels. For example, the 11th grade class studied the behavior of the Monarch caterpillars. The Monarch caterpillar has a bright yellow color because it reminds its predators that if they eat them, they taste distasteful. Another group of Upper School students are making compost from the food waste in the school cafeteria. This compost will be then used for the asclepias which will be placed around the campus. Finally, another group of students will look into making the aquaponics to water the plants and to create a symbiotic environment.