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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
For the past two years, Natural Habitat Adventures has awarded two dedicated educators the opportunity of a lifetime to experience the monarch butterfly migration in their winter roosting sites of Central Mexico. This past year, these coveted spots went to Beth Smith from Bloomington, Indiana and Dennis Foreman of Chillicothe, Ohio. Read how these teachers go above and beyond in their schools and communities to spread the importance of conserving monarchs.
Beth Smith is a veteran educator in her twentieth year of teaching. She's currently a 6th grade science and math teacher at Childs Elementary in Bloomington, Indiana. Each August, her students raise Monarchs from egg to larvae to pupa to adult and write extensively about their development through their ‘Diary of a Monarch’ journals. Additionally, her students study the Monarch’s biology, energy webs, milkweed/nectar needs, and environmental concerns facing Monarch populations, before tagging and releasing their adult Monarchs. It is Beth’s dream to find a tagged Monarch in Mexico and notify the tagger that their Monarch made it safely!
In addition to her classroom duties, Beth has served as her school's garden coordinator for several years. She loves helping students grow and eat vegetables in the garden, plant native plants in the rain garden, and plant milkweed and nectar plants in the monarch garden.
Beth's passion for monarchs can only be paralleled by her passion for educating. Beth arrived in Mexico with a huge suitcase filled to the brim with school supplies— including games, books, art materials, and hand-written letters from her own students—to donate to a school of students in rural Mexico. She felt it was important for her to take this opportunity to connect students from across the globe and give them each a glimpse into the lives of one another.
Being able to witness the monarch migration in Mexico will undoubtedly influence Beth's impact on her students by continuing to grow their enthusiasm for conservation of these incredible creatures. Visit the Natural Habitat Adventures webpage to learn more about the Monarch Butterfly Scholarship Grant program.