LOWELL, Mich. — Monarch butterflies are an endangered species, but a kid in Lowell is doing everything he can to turn the tide.
Seven-year-old Liam Lopez-Wagner, also known as Liam the Lepidopterist, has been sending milkweed seed packets all over the country since he was just 2 years old. He calls the project Amigos for Monarchs, and now his mission is being backed by one of the nations best known educators — Scholastic.
13 ON YOUR SIDE first shared Liam's story in June of last year, when he sent his 500th seed packet of 2021. He's sending milkweed specifically because it's a monarch's favorite plant. Its what they eat and where they lay eggs, but the plant isn't common enough to support the population growing.
Liam's family says the story boosted their mission enough to send an extra 300 seed packets all over the country, bringing his total for last year to 816.
With so many people wanting to join the fight for the Monarchs, Scholastic Publishing took notice. Liam's mom said he didn't have a specific goal for 2022 in mind until he was on the phone with an editor for the company. When they asked him, he said, "Even more!" and came up with 1,500.
If Liam is able to hit that goal, it would add up to around 30,000 milkweed seeds to be sent out. The first packets of the year were given to a 1st grade class at Bushnell Elementary School in Lowell. Liam presented from the Scholastic News Summer issue's first grade edition and passed out seeds to the whole class, many of whom happened to be the same age as him!
"It's a way for kids to see that they can do something, they don’t have to wait until they're an adult," said Tara DeRuiter, the class's teacher. "It's really special to see the kids actively doing things that make our world a better place."
As Liam sat at the front giving facts about butterflies, other pollinators and the importance of monarchs, he was able to reference that Scholastic News pamphlet with his own face on the cover. The classroom was decorated all over with drawings of monarch butterflies.
No day with Liam is complete without a trip to Lowell's Post Office. The clerks know Liam and his family by name, and greeted him with a smile as he came in with gifts — seed packets for them to plant in their yard. After sending out hundreds of the packets already, they were more than familiar.
If you want to send Liam some words of encouragement, you can send them to P.O. Box 369, Lowell, Michigan 49331.
To help Liam meet his goal of 1,500 seed kits in 2022, you can get your free kit through the Amigos for Monarchs website, or the Amigos for Monarch's Facebook page.
To check out Liam's Scholastic News feature, follow this link.
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