Predators have learned that the monarch butterfly, though beautiful, makes a poisonous meal. This will not deter teachers from gathering together to learn about them, however. The Watson-Brown Foundation is hosting a monarch workshop in the pavilion behind the plantation house from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27.
At the workshop, teachers, and anyone else who is interested in monarchs as an endangered species, will receive resources such as grade-level specific "monarchs in the classroom" curriculum, field guides, tagging kits, milkweed seeds (the favorite food of monarchs), and butterfly cages. Educators receive 50 percent off the $50 fee of the workshop from the Watson-Brown Foundation.
"We hope that teachers will learn to bring their kids, have a lesson plan, get them outside of the four walls of the classroom, and teach them something about nature and the environment," said Mary Anne Coussons, director of community relations at the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc.
The class is taught by Susan Meyers, co-chair of "Monarchs Across Georgia," an organization dedicated to engaging schools and families in multi-disciplinary exploration and scientific investigation of monarchs.
Monarchs are black and orange butterflies that migrate in masses every fall to their wintering grounds in Mexico. In the spring, they fly back to their summer home where they lay their eggs and die. In 1937, scientists began placing small sticky wing tags on the monarchs to discover their habits. In 1975, it was discovered that some monarchs fly over 1800 miles.
But Thomson residents don't have to travel that far to see the Monarchs. After the Monarch workshop, the grand opening of the Monarch Garden at the Watson-Brown Foundation will begin at 3 p.m. The garden is free and open to the public.
"Already many people come to walk and tour the garden, or sit and rest," Mrs. Coussons said. "You can already see monarchs there now. We are excited because that means they are telling their friends about us."
The Watson-Brown Foundation is located at 310 Tom Watson Way, Thomson. For more information, call 595-8886.