Archive for the 'EE' Category

Butterfly release – Stonefields School

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Stonefields School is a new school that wanted to release butterflies at their opening – but the supplier who was to deliver the butterflies had let them down at the last minute.

Their plan was to release four butterflies as part of our opening day celebration. Each one would signify one of their four vision principles, and Sarah, the principal, had written a very appropriate speech that refers to these as well as referring to the ‘butterflies in our stomachs’ that everyone might be feeling on the first day of a new school.

They were thrilled with their butterflies and the outcome – Thursday 3rd February – they gave my favourite charity (the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust) a generous donation, and were blown away by the event.

“We discovered that they moved much quicker than we expected them to…”

Betty Boopino – fantastic designer

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

I’ve been working on educational resources for schools (butterflies) and Emma designed a wonderful ‘frame’ for them. Originally it was going to be a website, but perhaps we’ll launch under the banner of the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust.

Take a look

Monarch Teacher Network, Canada

Friday, August 29th, 2008

I forgot to say… they also have MTN in Canada (and soon, NZ and Peru). You can read about Monarch Teacher Network Canada here.

Monarch Teacher Network

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

This has been the most wonderful three days. The people, about sixty of them, training together have shared fantastic experiences using Monarchs in their classrooms – from pre-school right through the primary school (they talk in grades, but I can’t get my head around it).

There were also two teachers from Peru, where they will be introducing MTN when they go back home, at their school and further afield.

There was a huge range of ideas to share on getting children involved with raising Monarchs, learning about milkweed and of course assisting in the migration. Much was made of their relationship with Mexico, and the ways in which American children can be made aware of children growing up in Mexico. The feedback from the teachers, talking about their experiences working with children was awesome.

At most of these schools Monarchs are raised and released. School is just about to go back for the new school year, and the children will benefit from the experiences and inspiration the teachers have just gained. Some children will be encouraged to make handcrafted Monarchs during an art activity and send them via mail to a sister school in Mexico. In a few months, after the winter, the Mexican children will send similar Monarchs back north.

Some classes make quilts, decorating individual squares, and send them to Mexico. Others have parades and invite the community to get involved. Gardens are planted for the Monarchs – and other birds and butterflies too. The Monarchs are the catalyst, the great ‘trigger’ of this environmental awareness.

Many of the teachers explained how there could be some reluctance among older children, or the tougher boys, to be involved with butterflies – but how after they see the pleasure that the other kids in the class are getting from the activity, they get involved too. It just takes one caterpillar wriggling into its chrysalis, or one butterfly unfolding itself and drying its wings… And this was evident at the course, when someone watching the wildlife in the cages we’d made, called out “Pupa alert” and everyone instantly crowded around the table to witness another emergence.


We learned how to make great desktop ‘cages’ for caterpillars, and gathered fresh milkweed and critters from a piece of land, probably ten acres, across the other side of the road. We learned to look carefully at a plant and see what other wildlife was using it as a host. The milkweed community is a fascinating ‘structure’ – we can learn so much about biodiversity from this most ancient of plants.

Mary and I have seen how lucky we are not to have milkweed beetles and milkweed bugs in NZ. Also, we’ve been warned about poison ivy and poison oak as we trip around outside. We’ve been amazed at how noisy the cicadas are, and revelled in the summer heat over here. But the sun doesn’t seem to burn…

It’s the height of summer here in the northern hemisphere. Around here, New Jersey, there are many deciduous trees, lush and green, properties are mainly unfenced, and one gets the impression as you drive around that you’re on the outskirts of a city, sort of like you’re leaving Cambridge and about to get into a rural area… but the landscape doesn’t change. One minute it’s residential, then light industrial, residential again, light industrial, a shopping centre, more homes… Very few fences. No farm animals, occasional vegetables or orchards. Cars are very much like they are at home – a wide range of different makes and ages.

Peaches and summer fruit are to die for. Last night we ate at a ‘clam bar’ and enjoyed their clam chowder and other fresh seafood. NZ mussels were on the menu too. Their beer was great, but one was enough.

The people have been so hospitable, it’s made our stay so pleasant. Everyone we meet has been so kind and helpful. Many have apologised for their international reputation, saying ‘what must we (the rest of the world) think of them’. They don’t talk politics, although it’s top of mind on the news of course with the elections so close.

Today (Saturday) we are off to Philadelphia to look around that city, and see such things as the Liberty Bell.

I have taken lots of photographs, and will upload them to, user name NZMBT, when I get a better connection. Right now I’m using the wireless connection of ‘someone around here’, but it doesn’t let me do too much…

Photographs from Otumoetai Primary School

Friday, May 25th, 2007

Last week I was in Tauranga and presented to the children at Otumoetai Primary School. As it was ‘Book Week’ my presentation took a slightly different tack and I also covered my work as a writer, editor and author.

Jenny Chapman, who organised the visit, said: “It was great to have you. I thought you aimed your talk well for the level of the children. It was definitely fun seeing you dress Mr Smith up.”



In the photographs Mr Smith kindly volunteered (?) to model for me, as I illustrated some of the differences between butterflies/insects and other animals.


Madam Butterfly at Waihi East School

Thursday, May 24th, 2007


Feedback from Waihi East School

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

The Bubbly Butterfly Lady

On Thursday 17th March, Jacqui Knight (the butterfly lady), paid a visit to Waihi East School and gave an interactive talk all about heaps of different types of butterflies, but mostly the Kohuku (colourful coat/monarch butterfly).
Jacqui is also a very enthusiastic environmentalist and talks about litter, different animals, saving our plant life, and looking after our planet. But mostly butterflies.
“I absolutely love doing this type of work,” says the Russell resident.
Madam Butterfly has been in this ‘Butterfly Business’ of teaching kids all about butterflies for over 35 years, and travelled to over 45 schools. She says her main aim is to protect the butterflies that used to swarm over NZ. Although there are over 20,000 different species of butterflies throughout the world, the numbers have speedily dropped to less than 75 around NZ.
She taught the pupils of East School about how the chrysalis is actually clear, how they group together to survive winter (they mostly go to Butterfly Bay), how moths are different from butterflies and much, much more.
Unfortunately, she had to leave after only one hour in order to get to other schools but in that hour, the Waihi East School students including myself, learned a lot about butterflies and enjoyed her presentation of the magical creatures.

By Joseph Walmsley, Age 11 Year 6

Feedback from Waihi East School

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Magnificent Madam Butterfly (Jacqui Knight)

On Thursday the 17th of May Madam Butterfly came to Waihi East School to talk about different types of butterflies, such as the Red Admiral and the Monarch. She has been teaching students around NZ for over 40 years now and loves her job. There are about 20 thousand different species of butterflies in the world but there is less than 100 species in NZ.
Did you know that a caterpillar’s first meal is its egg which it is born from, and within 4 minutes a caterpillar can eat a whole swan plant leaf. It takes 10-14 days before a caterpillar is ready to become a chrysalis
Once a butterfly has hatched it has a lot of caterpillar blood in it and has to pump it into its wings before it can fly.
I really enjoyed Madam Butterfly’s presentation. It was really interesting.

By Ruby Twyford
Year 6 Age:10

Feedback from Waihi East School

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Today (17/5/07) Jacqui Knight, also known as Madam Butterfly, visited Waihi East School. She has also been to 50 other schools in NZ, wow! She has been trying for 40 years to help butterflies, especially Monarchs. She helps the environment so it can be a better home for NZ’s beautiful butterflies. Madam Butterfly has traveled quite a lot around NZ and now she has driven down from Russell to give us a few tips about butterflies.
The Maori name for Monarch Butterflies is Kahuku, which means colourful coat. Amazingly, there are 20,000 species of butterfly in the world.
The difference between male and female Monarchs is that the female has dark black lines on her wings and the male has skinny ones – and males have two dots (scent pouches) on their wings instead.
Madam Butterfly says that she hasn’t traveled to different countries yet, but she would love to, she also said that she loves doing presentations in front of children, if they are a good audience, because she thinks that we could help nature too.
We learnt a lot more things about butterflies and we really enjoyed it.
I just want to say a great big thanks and I think it’s wonderful what Madam Butterfly is doing!!!

By Jordy Bardin
Year 5 9yrs Waihi East School

Feedback from Waihi East School

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Madam Butterfly

On Thursday 17th May, Madam Butterfly (Jacqui Knight) drove down from Russell to Waihi East School to show us a presentation. The presentation was about butterflies.
Madam Butterfly told us a lot about Monarch butterflies. She told us about the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. First the egg hatches and out comes the baby caterpillar. Next the caterpillar forms into a chrysalis. Finally the chrysalis breaks open and the adult Monarch butterfly emerges out of the chrysalis into broad daylight. The Maori name for the Monarch is Kahuku, which means colourful coat.
In NZ there are less than 100 species of butterfly, but in the whole wide world there are 20,000 different species of butterflies.
In the winter, Monarch butterflies in NZ go to Butterfly Bay to rest.
Madam Butterfly also cares for the environment as well as the butterflies. She also showed us a game called the web of life.
Madam Butterfly has been studying butterflies for 40 years and has gone to 50 schools in NZ teaching children about butterflies. She said to us that she loves her job.
Thank you for coming to our school to show us your presentation I really enjoyed it.
By Nicole Kerr Age 10