Fleming Students Help Endangered Monarch Butterflies

Lindsay, ON – “I actually refer to Fleming as finding my Hogwarts,” Jenna Lynch said with a laugh.

It’s a comparison she makes, she said, because Harry Potter found a sense of purpose and community in the wizarding world, and Lynch has found the same thing at Fleming College.

And like Harry Potter, she never saw it coming.

Lynch said she never thought she’d pursue a science-focused area of study.

She certainly didn’t think she’d spend her summer saving Monarch butterflies. She never imagined she would love every minute of it.

“I’m just really happy to be in an environment I can really thrive in,” she said.

Lynch transferred to Fleming after trying a different career path at another institution. But it wasn’t a good fit. She wanted something that promised variety and growth.

“I was just trying to find what was best for me,” she said.

Lynch enrolled in one of Fleming’s duo diploma programs, taking Conservation Biology and Forestry at the Frost Campus.

It was exactly what she was looking for.

Lynch said she’s excelled in areas where she never had before, and found her passion in asking questions, exploring the natural world, and taking deep dives into things she has yet to learn.  

“And I found friends who love the same quirky things I do,” Lynch said.

One of those friends is fellow Conservation Biology student Jaime Jackson-who stepped in to help Lynch in her quest to save Monarch butterflies.

That journey began earlier this summer, when Lynch got a job as a summer student at Frost Campus’s arboretum and seed bank.

Part of her duties included ridding the area of copious amounts of Dog Strangling Vine. It is an invasive species that bears a strong resemblance to Milkweed.

Milkweed, Jackson explained, is vital to the life cycle of Monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on Milkweed leaves. Once hatched, the young caterpillars will feed on those leaves until it is time for them to pupate.

Unfortunately, Monarchs often mistake the leaves of the Dog Strangling Vine for Milkweed. Those leaves have no nutritional value for the hatching Monarch caterpillars.

“They mistakenly lay their eggs there and then the caterpillar dies,” said Jackson.

Lynch began the painstaking process of checking each Dog Strangling Vine for Monarch eggs and caterpillars. The pair extended their search to other areas outside the Frost Campus. Jackson said they’d often check Milkweed growing in places where the municipality was set to mow, saving every egg and caterpillar they could.

Once found, the leaf was gently removed, placed in a clear plastic container, and taken to a makeshift Monarch nursery at the Frost Campus.

From there, the caterpillars were raised on a regular supply of nutritious Milkweed leaves the pair harvested on an almost daily basis.

“It’s very tedious,” Lynch said with a laugh.

A tedious job that couldn’t have come at a more urgent time. In July the International Union for the Conservation of Nature placed the Monarch Butterfly on its endangered species list.

“It’s a long time coming, getting Monarchs the classification they need,” Lynch said, adding that more needs to be done if the species will be saved.

Monarchs migrate from Canada, through the U.S. and to Mexico each year. While the species may be protected, Lynch explained that migratory path-and the Milkweed plant -will also need that same level of protection.

She points out that the rest of us will have to do our part to make sure this crucial insect survives, and that can include changing attitudes around what’s considered a garden nuisance or a helpful pollinator.

Unfortunately, Lynch said, caterpillars can be seen as pests due to their need to feed off foliage.

“I think people forget that in order to get a butterfly, you need to have a caterpillar first,” she said.

Lynch also cautions against starting your own Monarch rescue operation. Eggs and young caterpillars are very fragile, and she said those who don’t know what they’re doing can cause more harm than good.

The best way to help, she said, is to plant Milkweed, pull out Dog Strangling Vine and stop using pesticides.

While their work in the Monarch nursery is slowing down, Lynch and Jackson have their eyes set on what lies ahead.

Both have graduated from Conservation Biology, and both are continuing their education at Fleming, enrolled in duo-diploma programs.

Jackson is now pursuing a diploma in Ecosystem Management.

Lynch has begun her classes in the Forestry program and said she’s already looking forward to what’s ahead.

“In this field there’s always something to learn, always something we don’t have the answers to,” she said.

That idea of not knowing all the answers is what excites her the most, she said.  

Fleming College Conservation Biology student Jenna Lynch works in her makeshift Monarch Nursery at the Frost Campus.

For more information, please contact:
Sarah Deeth

Communications Officer


705-749-5530 ext. 1161

Sutherland Campus
599 Brealey Dr. Peterborough ON K9J 7B1
Ph: (705) 749-5530
Frost Campus
200 Albert St. S., Box 8000 Lindsay ON K9V 5E6
Ph: (705) 324-9144
Haliburton Campus
P.O. Box 839 Haliburton ON K0M 1S0
Ph: (705) 457-1680

Web: flemingcollege.ca

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Twitter: @FlemingCollege

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Fleming Students Set Up For Success on the West Coast

Jennifer Rishor, Program Coordinator, Hospitality – Hotel & Restaurant Operations, adventured out west to connect with the Fleming community who are getting their start in the Hospitality industry. 

As part of Jennifer’s trip out west, she stayed, toured and explored all things Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, including Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and Fairmont Banff Springs, connecting with industry leaders.

“A career in Hospitality offers endless opportunities for career growth and development into leadership and management roles, networking, travel and adventure,” Jennifer says. 

Fleming’s Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations program provides students with hands-on training and experiential learning needed to be successful. 

Check out what inspired our graduates and students to take the leap and head out west to jump start their careers.

“Take any opportunity that comes your way.” Hear what Katy Howden, a Fleming Hospitality graduate working at Becker’s Chalet in Jasper, Alberta, has to say about her program and her time out west.
“It’s life-changing,” says Kartik Verma, a current Fleming Hospitality student completing his field placement at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

For more behind-the-scenes content from Jennifer’s Trip out west, follow her on Instagram here.

Is travel, adventure and meeting new people part of your career plan? Learn how Fleming’s Hospitality Program will provide you with the transferable skills needed to succeed in the high-demand, worldwide industry. 

For more information: askus@flemingcollege.ca

Fleming’s Frost Campus Gets Ready To Celebrate Convocation

City of Kawartha Lakes, ON – (June 6, 2022) – Students at Fleming College’s Frost Campus are set to celebrate an academic milestone during two Convocation ceremonies June 10.  

The first ceremony takes place at 10 a.m., with students graduating from nine programs within the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences.

The 2 p.m. ceremony will host all remaining School of Environmental and Natural Resource Science programs, and students graduating from the School of Trades and Technology programs housed at the Frost Campus.

This year also marks the first time students graduating from the Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement program will be able to graduate with their Indigenous Perspectives Designation. Those students will receive a letter acknowledging this accomplishment in their graduation package. IPD students have chosen to incorporate more in-depth knowledge of First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples, cultures, histories, traditions, and contributions through the course of their Fleming College studies. Convocation is one of the most important events at the College, and a pivotal moment in a student’s academic career. Fleming College is proud of all our graduating students and their accomplishments.

Members of the media are welcome and encouraged to attend the in-person ceremony. If you plan to attend, please contact Communications Officer Sarah Deeth at 705-749-5530 ext. 1161 or email sarah.deeth@flemingcollege.ca.

About Fleming College
Fleming College respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg lands and territory. Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 100 full-time programs in Arts and Heritage, Business, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, General Arts and Sciences, Health and Wellness, Justice and Community Development, Skilled Trades and Technology, and Continuing Education. Fleming College has more than 6,800 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and 80,000 alumni.

For more information, please contact:
Sarah Deeth

Communications Officer


705-749-5530 ext. 1161

Web: flemingcollege.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/flemingcollege
Twitter: @FlemingCollege

Instagram: @flemingcollege