Santa Catalina Lower and Middle School is big on service, with students participating in numerous projects throughout the year. Our hope is that by the time eighth-graders walk down the brick steps at graduation, they know in their hearts that it's their duty to give back.
That's exactly what happened with Jackson '17 LS, who recently started his own nonprofit, the Monterey Monarch Project, to restore the local butterfly population. On January 7, Jackson returned to campus, "back to where it all started," to teach Lower School students about ways they can help save these important pollinators.
"Monarchs are amazing creatures with a right to life, and are part of the Peninsula legacy," said Jackson, who started at Catalina in PreK and is now a junior at Stevenson School.
Speaking at assembly, he told students about the drastic drop in monarch numbers because of the loss of milkweed habitat due to pesticides and other factors. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed and the caterpillars eat it, so the plant is essential to the butterflies' survival.
Jackson urged the students to plant "waystation gardens" at their homes so monarchs have a place to live, eat, and breed on their migration to Mexico. At the end of assembly, he handed out milkweed bulbs to each student. "Now is the perfect time to plant," he said.
Jackson started the Monterey Monarch Project after reading a local news article about the butterflies' plight. One of the project's goals is to plant over 5,000 milkweed plants through outreach to schools. Learn more at montereymonarchproject.org.