HorizonsMay 15, 2021

— updated Jul 21, 2021

Oh, Monarchs, Where Art Thou?

Meredith ’21 and the quest to preserve the iconic pollinator

By Symaira Elliott ’22, Horizons Media Team

For their senior year Horizons experiences, students have the opportunity to dig deep into areas of interest that are meaningful to them. This can take the form of internships and/or personal projects, which blend activism and research, providing seniors with a unique learning experience.

“My Horizons site was a personal project that I created to work in tandem with an ecology class I took in the fall semester at Berkshire Community College [through a collaborative agreement for MHS students],” says Meredith Kestyn ’21. “The goal of this project was to research the ecology and preservation of monarch butterflies in Berkshire County and be able to present research in some form of a slide show.”

In part, Meredith’s research consisted of recording and measuring milkweed on the BCC campus to observe where monarchs are most likely to feed on the plants. Her research also looked at population decline in monarchs. “In the past two decades, their population has declined by more than 80 percent and continues to decline,” Meredith says.

Meredith’s goal for the project was to be able to share information about the ecology of monarchs and how their preservation is important, due to the declining numbers of the monarch species. During her class, she learned about the importance of the butterfly’s relationship with milkweed, which is abundant in Berkshire County.

With a very interesting topic and lots of research to accompany it, Meredith was excited to be able to share her knowledge with the greater community. “I enjoyed being able to work on a project that interests me and allowed me to use what I learned in my ecology class,” she adds.