On September 15th we started a second Young Explorers Club with seventeen pumped up 10-13 year olds. The program kicked off our 2015-16 Galax After School Enrichment Program. We will be meeting with the kids two days a week and taking one extended Saturday field trip each month during the school year. The Young Explorers will earn a Junior Naturalist Certificate over the course of 2015-16.
For our first session the group gathered to discuss official club items in the classroom. After talking about the array of subjects we will be studying and what it means to be a naturalist, we honed in on insects in preparation for an October 17th field trip to the Hokie BugFest in Blacksburg. Our first club activity was to visit the butterfly garden on school grounds to do some maintenance and field investigation.
Last fall, BRDC, led by Sarah Osborne, planted a brand new butterfly garden on the grounds of the Galax High School as part of the Fall 2014 Middle School Enrichment Program. The results a year later are astounding! The garden is lush with life and the sharp eyes of the students quickly discovered a Monarch butterfly, then a caterpillar, then a bigger caterpillar, then three chrysalises and a caterpillar forming it's chrysalis! They were ecstatic to say they least!
In the short time available the students weeded out the crab grass, collected seeds to be planted in the spring and found an array of insects in the garden. We are looking forward to studying the garden in detail during the coming weeks. The students will also be building a club insect collection to be entered into the insect collection contest at the Hokie BugFest.
What a fantastic resource for young scientists to explore life! Every school needs a pollinator garden.