The project partners strongly believe that social inclusion in nature conservation and strengthening of social responsibility are key factors for sustaining the reintroduced population. For this reason, a number of workshops have been held at schools in Austria in recent months. If we can’t get the smallest explorers among us excited about the Apollo butterfly and its protection, then who can we?
Austrian conservation action coordinator reports, what she has experienced in the schools, conducting the workshops with butterfly expert Otto Feldner:
At the end of June, we visited the elementary school in Weißbach/Lofer. The school is a “Naturparkschule” and is located in the middle of the Weißbach nature park. Large butterfly stickers greeted us right at the school entrance. Accordingly, the 16 children of the 1st to 4th grade had already lot of knowledge about butterflies and insects in general. They could name many species, including very rare ones like Chazara briseis. The kids even wore butterfly pants and shorts. Many told us about the caterpillars they found on stinging nettles in the garden. Some children have even bred butterflies themselves, such as the little tortoiseshell or the peacock butterfly.
Otto showed the kids eggs and larvae in different stages from Parnassius apollo. The kids were of course very enthusiastic about that! We told them about the habitats that the Apollo butterfly needs, what is necessary to restore them, and about the project in general. Furthermore, they were asked to guess how many eggs an Apollo butterfly lays. Their guesses ranged from 1 to 20. They were amazed that the Red Apollo lays up to 100 eggs and that the caterpillars hibernate fully developed in their egg covers. In the end, they could touch some of the Apollo butterflies that Otto also brought with him which was the highlight of the whole workshop.
Next year we will meet again to create “Apollo gardens” together with the kids on the area of the school.
On June 15th, we had a workshop about butterflies and the Red Apollo in the 2nd grade of the elementary school in Maria Alm, Salzburg, Austria. Apollo-expert Otto Feldner was with us again. The children had already learned about butterflies in class and were able to tell us about many other native species in addition to P. apollo. Of course, they were very enthusiastic about the Apollo eggs, caterpillars and pupae that Otto had brought with him.
They learned about the specific habitats of P. apollo and what everyone can contribute to protect this beautiful and unique butterfly. In the end, we showed the kids the Apollo butterflies, which was of course the highlight of the whole workshop. The children also got butterfly seed bags as a little present and we hope that they will create many colorful flower meadows that will support butterfly biodiversity in Maria Alm.
On the 23rd of May we conducted a school workshop about P. apollo and butterflies in the primary school in Fusch/Großglocknerstraße, Austria. 21 kids from the 1st and 2nd grades learned a lot about the flying beauties from our butterfly expert Otto Feldner.
The children already knew a lot about butterflies in general and could even distinguish between butterflies and moths. Otto brought some Apollo caterpillars and butterflies for the children to see and touch. That was the highlight for the children, even if the green excretions of the caterpillars caused quite a few “Iiiiiii”. At the end, the kids could play with puzzles and memories on different butterfly species. Each child also received a little bag with wildflower seeds to create an Apollo and butterfly paradise in the garden or on the balcony.
We will see each other again next spring because we will create “Gardens for Apollo” together with the children near the school. In addition, we might do an Apollo-excursion somewhere in the valley of Fusch.
We are looking forward to visit the school and would also like to thank the class teachers for their great interest and enthusiasm!
Interested in workshops at your school?
Contact our coordinator Lisa Marie Mahlknecht (email@example.com)
#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project
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