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Maple Grove Voice

Photos: Weaver Lake Elementary Students, Boston Scientific Partner for Planting

Jun 05, 2016 11:31AM ● By Wendy Erlien

After learning about a changing monarch population, Weaver Lake Elementary fifth grade students decided to reach out to Boston Scientific's Maple Grove campus to ask if they could help plant a monarch habitat.

On Friday, June 3, the students, aided by Boston Scientific staff, joined forces to plant a native prairie habitat aimed at attracting and increasing the monarch butterflies and other pollinators in the area.  

For more than 12 years, Weaver Lake Elementary has partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Monarch Lab to study and raise monarchs from larvae to adults following with their release. However, over recent years, the program has felt the effects of the decline in monarch populations, according to ISD 279 - Osseo Area Schools.  

“Because of the reduction in number of butterflies available for the classroom, the students were keenly tuned in to the conversation around the current status of monarchs,” STEM Curriculum Coordinator at Weaver Lake Elementary Karla Juetten said. “The students wanted to do something to make a difference, so they conducted an advocacy letter writing campaign, highlighting the plight of the monarchs and other pollinators in our local area. Boston Scientific, just down the road from the school and a strong STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] supporter, agreed to set aside land on their property so that the students could plant a prairie.”  

With a staff more nearly 3,500 at their Maple Grove site, Boston Scientific actively partners with many community service-based organizations each year. When approached by the Weaver Lake Elementary students, “the project really hit a sweet spot for us,” Boston Scientific Director of Community Engagement Marilee Grant said.

“To work with kids and inspire STEM education, it’s really an inspiration for the future,” she said.

Grant and maintenance support for the project was provided, in part, by the local Northwest Suburban PheasantsForever chapter as well as the Minnesota’s Environment and Natural ResourcesTrust Fund.

Boston Scientific employee-volunteers will maintain the habitat. In the upcoming years, fifth graders from Weaver Lake Elementary will continue use the area for research, including monitoring and collecting data to study the impact on the area monarch population.

“Even if they choose not to enter a science related career, students can still know how they can become engaged as a citizen scientist,” Juetten said.

Additional contributors providing grant funding for this project include DuPont Pioneer, Bayer Bee Care and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund.

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