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Everyday Hero: Teacher Taking Lessons Outside to Help Endangered Species

TAMPA, Fla. — A Bay Area teacher is taking her lessons outside the classroom to help an endangered species. 

The work by today’s Everyday Hero not only helps a beautiful insect but our gardens as well. 

The mission of the Tampa Bay Monarch Project is to create butterfly gardens by planting milkweed and nectar plants throughout the Bay Area providing way stations for Monarch butterflies to feed and lay eggs. 

It’s founder is Hillsborough Teacher Gloria Brooks. 

“Monarch butterflies are endangered. Their numbers have decreased dramatically in the past 20 years and that’s what kind of peaked my interest to want to do something with these butterflies,” Brooks said. 

Gloria said most of us know the importance of bees. But these beautiful butterflies are also very important pollinators, contributing to the health of planet Earth. 

“It’s really just about letting people know simply by planting milkweeds you can help the Monarch butterfly,” Brooks said. 

That’s because Monarchs will only lay their eggs on milkweeds. Brooks also said these can be any size. 

“It doesn’t have to be this gigantic garden. You don’t have to clear out all this land. Some people just live in an apartment. You could do it out of a container on your patio.”

Gloria said her own kids as well as her students love seeing the Monarchs’ life cycle and learning the importance of pollinators. 

“So the children could participate in taking care of their garden, planting the garden, finding the caterpillars, caring for them, and getting to see that life cycle over and over again.”

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