Born to Fly


Written by Kirsten Hein and Brittney Lauderdale, Staff Writers, Woodgrove Outlander

Not only does Woodgrove High School provide an education, but it also provides a place for new life. Unbeknownst to most students, new life is emerging in L513, where Special Education teacher JoAnn Grooms has been waiting for her collection of caterpillars to transform into beautiful Monarch butterflies.

Mrs. Grooms has been collecting Monarch caterpillars and watching them transform for over 25 years.  Grooms said, “I was first inspired by my own children, and I wanted to share this process with them,” about how she first became involved in hatching monarch butterflies.

This sparked a tradition within Mrs. Grooms’ family which carries on still today.   Grooms actually received a few of the caterpillars in L513 from her son’s farm, in addition to finding a few on her own.

Grooms said, “It was scary when I would pull over on the side of the highway with all the cars flying by as I was looking on the milkweed for eggs.”

The Monarch Butterfly’s life revolves around the milkweed plant. The plant is where the monarchs get their food and lay their eggs. Mrs. Grooms says she supports the creation of a butterfly garden at Woodgrove because it doesn’t just add beauty, but “it keeps these beautiful and endangered creatures around.”

Students have been excitedly watching the process. As the butterflies get closer to emerging, the chrysalis becomes clear until they break free. Only Monarch butterflies that are born in the late summer and early fall will make the very long journey to Central Mexico and back during winter.