The DeForest Area Public Library’s Community Room was inundated by monarch butterflies last Tuesday evening. A kaleidoscope of orange and black wings covered the tables and clung to the walls while numerous Windsor Elementary School students cut, glued and decorated their own butterfly creations.

Butterfly Night, held Feb. 26, was a collaborative event between the library and school to teach children about caterpillars and butterflies in support of the school’s Spectaculous Metamorphosis project, an arts integration school-wide project. Students created origami cups from newspaper, filled the cups with dirt and planted milkweed seeds. Small hands colored butterfly pictures and decorated paper cut-outs.

“We built butterflies out of paper, teaching the kids that a butterfly is an insect, which has six legs, wings and antennae,” said volunteer Lois Lehman who helped coordinate the craft activities.

Other students enjoyed the butterfly and caterpillar books, puzzles and toys. Through interactive displays and projects, both the kids and their parents were able to learn about plants that attract butterflies, the difference between male and female monarchs and the importance of planting milkweed and flowers.

Second-grade teacher Heather Terrill Stotts explained the school year is dedicated to teaching the students about metamorphosis through an arts and curriculum integration. Earlier this year, Windsor students and staff together created 600 butterflies, which are now displayed in a three-dimensional, 48-foot mural at the school.

“I’m thrilled by the project’s success and by the outpouring of community support,” said Terrill Stotts.

In addition to art projects, students are writing songs with a visiting musician and learning dances by a local dance company, all based on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. The mural, songs and dance will be showcased in a celebration of arts at Windsor Elementary School Fine Arts Night on Thursday, March 14.

To conclude the Spectaculous Metamorphosis project, students plan to release live butterflies the last week of school.

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