8th graders at Northstar Academy in Marquette celebrated Earth Day today by planting milkweed seeds.
Representatives from the Hiawatha National Forest helped the students through the planting process and educated them regarding the milkweed’s beneficial properties. The plants will be raised in the green house at Northstar before being moved to monarch openings on the Stonington Peninsula.
Janel Crooks, a public affairs officer with the Hiawatha National Forest, said, “It’s such a gift and a benefit for all of us to have these public lands that provide habitat for nature, provide recreation opportunities, contribute to the local economy for everything from logging to tourism.”
“A year from now you would see milkweed plants about two to three feet tall in full bloom, and you’d see not only monarch butterflies utilizing them but a lot of native bees: bumblebees, honeybees. They’re a very, very fragrant flower so it attracts a lot of pollinators,” said Deb LeBlanc, a plant ecologist in the west unit of the Hiawatha National Forest.
And for some students, participating in today’s seeding and planting allows them the satisfaction of preserving the Earth.
8th grade student Darren Castello said, “I was a part of that and our whole class did that work and that’s what makes me proud of doing that.”
Earth Day began in the ’70s as a reminder of our connection to nature and its importance to our lives.