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Discover the Journey and Transformation of the Monarch Butterfly at the Monarch Teacher Network Workshops

Aug 03, 2010

Educating people about the natural world and equipping them with the knowledge and tools to act on what they have learned are two important steps to making a positive difference. For the first time, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) has partnered with the Monarch Teacher Network (MTN) to offer the workshop Teaching and Learning with Monarch Butterflies. This workshop provides educators with the information and materials to produce an integrative learning experience that gets students excited about being part of a North American initiative to protect Monarch Butterflies. The MTN is a network of more than 2500 trained educators from15 states, five provinces and five countries that brings the butterfly story to people of all ages, connecting that story to wider issues from biodiversity, to habitat loss and social issues.

With the generous support from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, TRCA and the MTN are able to continue to bring these workshops to Canadian educators. Participants will learn about the life cycle and migration of the Monarch Butterfly, understand the conservation efforts taking place and increase their awareness about the concerns that face indigenous species. There are two workshops in Toronto in August, as well as workshops in Ottawa, Ontario; Wolfville, Nova Scotia; and Winnipeg, Manitoba available July and August.

"TRCA is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Educational Resource and Information Center (EIRC) in re-introducing the Monarch Teacher Network (MTN) to Ontario" said Nancy McGee, Supervisor of Education Program Services at TRCA. Thanks to these educational workshops, "teachers from across Canada will be able to share the wonder and intrigue of the Monarch Butterfly with their students, deepening their understanding of not only this amazing creature, but also how human and insect lives are intertwined."

The Monarch Butterfly population is in decline due to habitat destruction on wintering grounds. With an estimated 1% survival rate from egg to pupation, the concern for the Monarch Butterflies' wellbeing is growing. Their story is one that crosses borders as butterflies from the U.S.A. and Canada migrate south to Mexico travelling 3,200 km every fall and through this unique program more people are learning how they can help increase their odds of survival.

"The Monarch Butterfly serves as a metaphor for people across North America," said Erik Mollenhauer, who manages the MTN project and its expansion, providing guidance and support in Canada, and leading trips to Mexico. Mollenhauer explains that "the Monarch's annual migration shows that monarchs are citizens of North America... not just of Canada, which is symbolic of unity across boarders not just for Monarch's but also for humans. We are all connected to distant lands as citizens of one ecosystem and one world, with one future."

The MTN workshop is an engaging, interdisciplinary experience that provides educators with valuable information appropriate for all grade levels and subject areas, including Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Spanish and Technology. It has been well received by participants in the past who have said it is a great teaching tool for people of all ages, which challenges people to work together for a sustainable future.

The workshop includes instruction by the MTN and TRCA experts, as well as a Teacher's Guide with over 200 pages of activities, lesson plans and resources, a Teacher's Activity CD and DVD, slide show presentations, butterfly garden seeds, rearing and holding cages, information sheets and much more.

With funding support from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the MTN and TRCA are also offering a limited number of fellowships to Canadian teachers to travel to Mexico, as a member of a guided MTN groups. Participants visit Monarch winter colonies, Mexican schools and explore Mexican and pre-Hispanic culture.
DATES: Feb 19- Feb 26, 2011 or Feb 12 - 19, 2010 or March 12 - 19, 2011.



Monarch Teacher Network Workshops Summer 2010 two-day workshop


  • August 9-10,
    at Lake St. George Field Centre, Richmond Hill @ 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • August 11-12,
    at Black Creek Pioneer Village, Downsview @ 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Tagging and releasing Monarchs: Photo opportunity of the release of 20 Monarch butterflies.

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Rearing cages, holding cages activities: observe the changes that occur during Monarch's metamorphosis from eggs to adult butterfly.


  • Erik Mollenhauer, Manager of Programs and Curriculum at the Educational Information Resource Center (EIRC), New Jersey.
  • Andrew Boughen, Supervisor of Lake St. George Field Centre, TRCA.
  • Nancy McGee, Supervisor of Education Program Services, TRCA.


  • Lake St. George Field Centre
    950 Bethesda Side Road Richmond Hill, ON.
  • Black Creek Pioneer Village
    1000 Murray Ross Parkway Toronto, ON.

Cost of MTN Summer 2010 two-day workshop:

ONLY $75.00 (plus taxes) per person for enrollment and go home with more than $125.00 worth of free educational resources.


With more than 50 years of experience, TRCA helps people understand, enjoy and look after the natural environment. TRCA's vision is for The Living City - where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity. For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at For more information and to register, visit

*Enrollment in workshops is not restricted to teachers and educators.


For media who want to attend all or part of the workshop, please contact us at the number below.

Rowena Calpito
Toronto and Region Conservation
T: 416.661.6600 Ext. 5632
C: 416-358-3446

Mary Catherine McDonough McLennan
PR Intern, Media Management
Tel: 416-661-6600 Ext. 5599
Cell: 647-995-3565



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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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