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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

Monarch Conservation

Restoring Alabama’s Native Prairies

Limestone Park and Native Prairies

I’m standing at the edge of a flourishing prairie in
Limestone Park Prairie, Alabaster—practically on Birmingham’s doorstep. Butterflies flit through a colorful maize of wildflowers.

Buckeye
Buckeye, Limestone Prairie Park (Boris Datnow)
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Butterfly Awareness Botanical Gardens


Butterfly Education and Awareness Day

Monarch Butterfly (Poster created by Ellie Usadan)
Kids Enjoyed Coloring the Poster Created by Ellie Usdan

We were delighted to join the
Birmingham Botanical Gardens, on a perfect summer day, to celebrate Butterfly Education and Awareness Day, and also to share the newest book in the eco mystery series for middle grades, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Monarch Mysteries (book 6 in the series).
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Environmental Project Based Learning

Launch of Eco Mystery Project

"To sunshine, clear water, and sparkling skies and to the kids who are cleaning up the Earth.” Jean Craighead George

How can educators launch a PROJECT-BASED LEARNING project that will inspire students to do in-depth investigation and to apply what they have learned to make a difference in the real world? Here’s how I launched projects about
eco mysteries for Melissa Foster’s third graders at Creek View Elementary in Maylene, Alabama, and Robin Gillespie’s fifth and sixth graders, at Oak Mountain Intermediate School in Decatur, Alabama.  
To arouse the students’ curiosity, I planned the event to be novel and dramatic. My presentation encouraged students to generate questions that  plunge them into an intriguing ecological mystery they must solve in order to help save an endangered species. To begin, I dressed up as Mrs. Margarita Mariposa, a character in
The Adventures of The Sizzling Six: Monarch Mysteries (Book Six in the series). I donned a striking mask with flowers and butterflies and tossed a paper monarch butterfly into the air.

Day of Dead Read More...

Monarch Migration Mysteries

Conserving Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus)
For decades scientists have puzzled over of how monarch butterflies navigate over 2,500 miles from breeding sites across the eastern United States to overwintering sanctuaries in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.  Now researchers at UMass Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute seem to have solved the puzzle. Monarchs use a magnetic sun compass in their antenna to help them make find their way home! As the fall progresses monarchs will start to migrate south from Canada on their way to Mexico —so watch out for Monarchs in your area.
Monarch migrations Read More...