Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

E8 L55 – With Clive in India

    All  GA Henty books are great, and With Clive in India is no exception.  This awesome book is action packed and is a perfect read for adventure-loving kids like me.  It is a slightly longer book, but nonetheless it is just as good as a movie.

    The book starts off slow, but quickly speeds up as he gets sucked into the many battles.     The plot is generally exciting and quick.     At its core the plot is about Charlie Marryat, a young man who goes to India as a clerk for the British East India Company, is sucked into the army, and reveals his excellent leadership qualities there.      His incredible leadership and foresight gain him massive recognition and rank in the army, and he quickly is considered the second best general in the army, under the one and only Clive.       Set in India in the early 1800s, the climate and position force him to accommodate, so he gains in respects that fit the setting.      The author, G.A. Henty, manages to fit all this in an active plot line, while only using third person.   Sometimes Henty describes the character in the middle of a battle, betraying no feelings at all through third person, yet with a vivid imagination it is easy to come up with many possible things that the character is thinking.       Charlie Marryat’s journey is well documented in this excellent book. 

     My thoughts on the book are all good.      The book is great, it catches the reader and keeps them reading for a good while.        It allows the reader to, as Billy Joel put it, “Forget life for a while.”      The descriptive scenes can be imagined as though it was a really long movie, which is what I do when I read.       My favorite parts were the battle scenes; they are action packed and fast paced, my type of reading.       There was nothing I really disliked about the book, except the slow start.        I don’t think Henty had any particular purpose in mind as he wrote With Clive in India other than to entertain the reader, and he does exactly that.      He engulfs the reader in the book, and makes them want more on the book, but never really says that he wants to entertain – I just pull it from reading the book itself.      I would highly recommend this excellent book.  

    Though I would like to say more on the book, that would be a spoiler, and nobody likes spoilers.      All in all, I highly recommend this book and would read it over and over again myself if it didn’t get boring after so many times reading it. 

Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

E8 L150 – Blogging

         Blogging is a very important skill.  It is a practice zone for the skill of writing, and is very useful when selling something.  Often, blogs are news sites.  Other times, blogs are the gateway to a good job.

          Writing is a crucial skill in the workplace.   As Gary North, Senator Ron Paul’s presidential campaign manager, says, “If you can tell other people what to do in not only verbal words but words on a piece of paper, you have a significant advantage in getting a job.”  A blog is a perfect place to practice your skill – if the public likes it, it’s good.  If nobody likes it, it’s bad.  Besides, if you lose a disk drive that held all the original files, there is always the backups on the blog.  It’s almost like a public Cloud for free, a social media, and a chat center rolled into one.

          One day my blog is going to get me a job because my employer can see my writing skill on my blog.  I will have a higher chance of getting the job because not many people have very good writing skills nowadays, though there are more and more bloggers by the day.

          Every time I post an essay, I look back at some of my old ones and think, “Man, I wouldn’t write it that bad now! It just looks so horrible and the grammar’s slightly off.”  This is a sign of improvement.  Eventually, after college if I choose to take it I might look back at this essay and think, “Oh my Lord, that essay is so horrible that I don’t know why I posted it!”  That’s a sign of improvement.

          The point of a blog is to put what you think out on the web, but it works just as well as a historical, physical book of essays.  This will eventually show an employer my advancement in the skill of writing, and earn me a job.

Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

E8 L145 – College

          There are many ways to get more education.  The one most talked about is college.  Although college has been around for a long time, it is still the main way to get higher education.  The thing is, though, it’s becoming obsolete.  With the rise of the internet, a physical college and campus is not as important; the new-fangled online colleges allow for all the learning of a physical college, but also the comforts of home, if the choice is even made to do college. 

          The question is, is it important for you?  Depending on your needs, college may or may not be very important.  If you don’t have much money and don’t need higher education, it’s not really a good idea to go into thousands of dollars in debt just to get a piece of paper that pretty much just says “So-and-so completed so-and-so class with highest honors”. Now you may argue, “But doesn’t that piece of paper get me a better job?” Really, it doesn’t.  The paper gets you on the short list for the interviews, but it doesn’t guarantee you the job you seek. 

You don’t need the degree to beat others with a degree; you just have to be confident and competent.  If you know what you’re doing, the interviewer will notice, and you may get the job.  For example, Nicola Tesla dropped out in his second year of college, but still managed to land a job at one of the biggest companies at the time.  Sure, he was a genius, but the same rule applies. 

A reason that it may be important is that you want to do something that wasn’t covered in college, like geology.  President Herbert Hoover made millions off his degree in geology by predicting the best places to drill for oil.  One of my uncles has a degree in programming and makes two hundred thousand a year at least.  A good idea is to take boy scouts in middle school and early high so you can get a taste of the many different fields that are available. 

What is your situation?  There are a few options.  You could get a degree without going to college at all!  There are online colleges, CLEP exams, and a few inexpensive other ways to get degrees. So why waste time and money going to a physical college, or even a college at all? There are benefits of not going to college; take advantage of them.   Do it soon, or not at all: tenth grade is a good deadline, or there’s gonna be some serious cramming happening in eleventh and twelfth.

 There are ways other than college; don’t forget to consider them, and in conclusion, I recommend watching a video by Gary North on the expenses of college.  Here it is: Video

Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

English L101-115 Book – The Journey of the Tower of Babel

Part One 

Chapter I – Beginnings

March 1, 2008 B.C.

          This diary is to log our exploits after the confusion of languages and I was chosen to write it, so here I am writing it.  This is the first day of the confusion and I am unable to read the Hebrew that I learned in school two years ago.  I was chosen to start a log on the trip and to record all that happens on the way.  Well, I was walking around in the tower searching for anyone that spoke the same new language, which I called “Spanish”.  I called out and I heard another voice beside me yelling at me and I could understand.  To me this was surprising because I had spoken Hebrew all my life (so far).  I asked if anyone else could talk in the same language too, and he had encountered Chiram and Abhy.  “Aaron, what’s going on?” Barrak said.  I told him my opinion, said sure to a suggestion of his, and we split up. He went left and I right.  I ran into Chedva and Elias and he found Liesbet. 

Continue reading “English L101-115 Book – The Journey of the Tower of Babel”
Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

E8 L75 – The Civil War

Wars are interesting topics.  They are a great base for storytelling, they solve arguments long past, and the real stories from those wars are quite entertaining.  Sometimes it’s not just the battles that are interesting, though… sometimes it’s the generals, too.  The many battles and generals involved in theAmerican Civil War are easily sorted out.  

The generals are many and multifaceted,  and they are a great base for the war.  each of the generals had a life and career, and many of them had experiences that helped them in the war.  Some had West Point education, some had combat experience from the Mexican-American War, and some had both.    

Probably the most important general in the war was Ulysses S. Grant, born Hiram Ulysses Grant on April 27, 1822.  He attended West Point and fought in theMexican-American War.  He played a major part in the war, being the man who pulled all the Union strings, under orders from Lincoln.  He also tracked down and inflicted major casualties on the ever-important Army of Virginia under Lee.  He held the presidency afterwards and was the youngest man yet to do so. Though he was a penny-pincher, his administration was scandalized by a partner in business.  Post-presidency, hehad his friend publish his memoirs, and it happened to be on the day he died that they were published. (, n.d.)

          William Tecumseh Sherman was Grant’sright-hand man, and he was the one who broke the South’s will to fight through his “scorched earth” policy, otherwise known as “total war”.  Born on February 8, 1820, he started off terribly in his military career.  He even had to be temporarily relieved of command because his superiors thought he wasn’t quite right in the head.  He returned to victory at Shiloh,and devastated Georgia via his infamous “March to the Sea”.   He recognized war for what it was: “War is hell.” (, n.d.)

Robert Edward Lee was the other biggest general at the time.  He was born onJanuary 19, 1807 in Stratford, VA.  He commanded his home state’s armed forces after a graduation from West Point and service in Mexican-American War, and then moved up a notch to commander of all Confederate Armies.  After the war, he became the president of Washington college, after being defeated by Grant in the war. (, n.d.)

Grant had a right-hand man, so who was Lee’s?  the answer is the infamous Thomas“Stonewall” Jackson. Born on January 21, 1824, Jackson’s family all died, and he went to West Point.  He was teased endlessly by the rest of his class, but luckily this only fueled his determination to succeed.  He graduated 17th out of 59 just in time to go to the Mexican-American War. Hewas then a VMI professor until the war, in which time he trained new recruitsfor what would soon to be called the “Stonewall Brigade”.   At onepoint in the war Lee said that he’d rather lose his right arm than lose Jackson. But lose him he did, sadly, in the all-important battle of Chancellorsville.  (, n.d.)

One of the funniest developments in the war general-wise was probably Lincoln’s indecision on a top general.  He goes through McDowell, McClellan, Halleck,Burnside, Hooker, Meade,  and finally finding Grant.  All of those generals had something Lincoln wasn’t satisfied with, and that made him mad.  McDowell’s problem was indecision, McClellan was too bossy, Halleck’s problem has never been known, but was probably stubborn, Burnside was defeated too easily, Hooker was way too slow, and Meade was wounded in combat (but was otherwise good!). 

It all started when Union troops in the now-seceded South Carolina moved to the unfinished fort Sumter on an island inthe middle of Charleston Harbor.  When the nearby Confederate forts surrounding Sumter told them to evacuate or get bombed, the Union said no, and the war began. The Confederate forts surrounding Sumter started a 34-hour bombing of Sumter.  At the end of that time, theUnion soldiers surrendered and said they were out.  Nobody was killed during the bombing.  (, 2017)

The first casualty of the war was not a battle casualty – it was an accident.  Onthe way out of Fort Sumter, the Union fired a fifty-gun salute in the parade,and one of the cannons accidentally exploded and killed the cannoneer.  So the first casualty of the American civil war was not a military, it was a single cannoneer. 

The result of the fall of Fort Sumterwas the first Battle of Bull Run/Manassas. Lincoln called for 75,000 men to support the Union army and quickly end the war.  This was attempted by the capture of Richmond by the Union.  The first Battle of Bull Run was between US General McDowell, and CS General Beauregard.  Each side had about 18000 untrained troops with bad leaders.  The Union wanted to surprise the Confederates and attack the left flank, but it was not executed very well, and the Confederates had time to prepare.  When the reinforcements under CS Johnston arrived, the Union was pushed back. Stonewall Jackson got his name here and rallying under Jackson the Confederates forced the Yankees to retreat wildly.  Lincoln wasn’t too happy with McDowell, and so replaced him with McClellan.

The next battle was the beginning of US General Ulysses S Grant’s career as a military general.  When he assaulted Fort Henry in Middle Tennessee, he captured it with ease and gave the Tennessee River to the Union,and opened supply lines for himself as he moved southwards towards the Alabama border. 

After the capture of Fort Henry, Grant decided to keep going and capture the next fort down the river, Fort Donelson.  This second fort was a little bit harder to capture.  Grant’s strategy was to surround the fort and keep it hostage until it surrendered, but CS Brigadier General John Floyd had other ideas. He tried to make a sortie to clear a path to Nashville, Tennessee, but the sortie failed, Floyd was captured, and the fort surrendered. This opened the Cumberland River to the Union, and yet another supply line to Grant as he took large hunks out of the South. Shortly after the battle, McClellan was relieved of his position and replaced by Henry Halleck. (, Battle of Fort Donelson, 2009)

The next battle was in the small town of Shiloh, Tennessee, and was between Grant, who was still moving south, and Johnston and Beauregard’s combined troops. The Confederates surprise attacked Grant as he was traveling and were initially very successful in taking out Grant’s troops; however, General Johnston was killed in the battle as the Confederates retreated. 

As Grant took a hunk out of the South,the other super-general at the time, CS Robert E Lee, was attempting to retaliate and take a chunk out of the north. The result of this was the Second Battle of Bull Run.  The battle was similar in location and result to the first battle, despite more and better trained soldiers and a new Union rearguard.  The Confederates still won, but the Union rearguard kept it from being a complete repeat of the first Battle of Manassas. 

The next battle was the bloodiest in American history, with 22,717 casualties in one day.  This battle was the Battle of Antietam, inSharpsburg, Maryland.  McClellan was not a daredevil, and he did not use the Union advantages; instead he ordered a series of frontal assault charges on the very well prepared Lee.  Lincoln was then mad at him for the waste of lives and replaced him with Ambrose Burnside. (, n.d.)

Burnside was soon tested in fire in thebattle of Fredericksburg.  Lee entrenched himself in the Fredericksburg area, and did not move for the majority of the battle.  Burnside, on the other hand, made a series of frontal assault charges that were completely unsuccessful.  This was one of the most lopsided battles in history, with twice as many Union casualties as Confederate.

To begin 1863, Lincoln made Joseph Hooker  Eastern commander and Grant theWestern commander, and gave Grant orders to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi.

          The first major battle of the year was the Battle of Chancellorsville, which was remembered as Lee’s “perfect battle” because his dare-devilishness and Hooker’s timidity made this a massive Confederate victory.   Unfortunately, many fell in this battle, including the infamous Stonewall Jackson, who fell to friendly fire.  Lee’s strategy was to send Jackson and his men on a flanking mission, but after some recon Jackson came back and was accidentally shot by his own guard.  J.E.B. Stuart took over for the rest of the day.  The Union was nearly routed, and the Confederates were the victors, but it came at no small cost; it was the second bloodiest day in the Civil War.  (, Chancellorsville, 2009)

          Following his victory at Chancellorsville, Lee decided to take some of the North and a reputation, and so started a campaign to the North. Lincoln made Hooker follow, but quickly realized that he was not a very good (or fast!) general and replaced him with George Meade.  Lee was excited for the battle when Meade caught up with him in Gettysburg, and nobody could’ve told what was going to happen next.  The first day was light skirmishes, before the whole of the armies were assembled.  The next day found both armies laid out in full battle formation and ready to go. They fought until the day ended, and nobody had a victory yet.  The third day was the day that it was decided.  That fateful morning, Lee launched a heavy attack on the flanks of the Union but made no gains.  He then decided to make a risky decision that cost him the battle… and possibly the war. He set up a full-frontal charge on the Union under CS Gen. Longstreet, and charged with the hope of breaking through the Union center.  This move was called Pickett’s Charge, and was repulsed with massive loss to the Confederates.  This ended Lee’s campaign to the north. 

           After the charge, Lee told his troops to square up in divisions in case the Union made an advance on the Confederate line, and General Pickett made his infamous statement: “General Lee, sir, I haveno division.” (Berenger)

 As the Confederates lost ground in Virginia, Grant topped his achievements off with the capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  He heavily attacked at first, but was repulsed, so he decided to wait out a siege and capture Vicksburg.  When this fell from lack of food, the whole of the Mississippi River was Union soil, effectively splitting the Confederacy in two.  Texas and Arkansas could no longer help the Confederates, as they were on the other side of the river. 

Grant had been doing great in taking out the Deep South, but a mistake by one of his fellow generals, William Rosecrans, against Braxton Bragg in North Georgia, ended the Union campaign to the south.  The battle was fought near Chickamauga Creek in Northern Georgia.  The Confederates were victors only because of a miscommunication in the Union lines.  Rosecrans weakened his lines and created a hole in the center where the Confederates were advancing, and a full third of Rosecrans’ army was immediately off the field.  This battle ended the Union Campaign south,but the Union was still way on top of the war. 

The next battle was the last of Lee’s victories, Cold Harbor.  Like at Antietam, the Union made frontal assaults on the Confederate entrenchments,which produced significant Union casualties and no Confederate casualties.  After this, Lee was defense and retreat for the rest of the war, and never put up much of a fight afterwards. 

With William Sherman as the new commander of the West and Grant as the East, Sherman decided to move for the Atlanta Campaign.  He used no supply lines, and was deep in enemy territory, yet completely crippled the Confederacy in his Atlanta Campaign throughout 1864. As he headed towards Atlanta, Georgia, he made sure to take out the railroad tracks.  When he came across one, he had his men take out the railroad ties, pick up the tracks, and bend them around trees.  When the Confederates came along later and saw them, they called these strange rail-covered trees“Sherman’s Bow-Ties”.  When he reached Atlanta, he captured it and burned it to the ground in the Battle of Atlanta.  (, 2004)

He continued past Atlanta and captured the capital, Milledgeville, and then Savannah. As he did so, Grant was fending off Jubal Early’s attacks on him in the Shenandoah Valley in Maryland.  Grant sacked and burned many of the resources and homes.  Jubal Early’s attempts to eradicate the Union in the Shenandoah were unsuccessful, and Early’s troops were destroyed. 

As Grant took the Shenandoah Valley, Lee was being besieged in the city of Petersburg. The war was pretty much over at this point, with only two battles and a few treaties to go. 

The second to last battle of the war was the siege of Petersburg, which Lee was stuck in Petersburg and besieged by Grant.  He was allowed out and allowed to fight one last time in the Battle of Appomattox Court House.  After the battle, Lee, the last Confederate Army on the field, surrendered to Grant under very favorable terms on April 9, 1865.

So ended the bloodiest war in American History, with over 620 thousand men dead, all American, and 3% of the entire population; all over a few small arguments over who was free and who wasn’t.   

Bibliography (n.d.). Battle of Antietam. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from

Berenger, T. (Director). (n.d.). Gettysburg [Motion Picture]. (n.d.). Robert E. Lee. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from (n.d.). Thomas J. Jackson. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from (n.d.). Ulysses S. Grant. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from (n.d.). William T. Sherman. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from (2017, November 29). Battle of Fort Sumter, 3rd version. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from (2009, October 27). Battle of Chancellorsville. (A&E Television Networks) Retrieved November 20, 2018, from (2009, December 2). Battle of Fort Donelson. (A&E Television Networks) Retrieved November 20, 2018, from History: (2004, May 13). Atlanta Campaign. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from Wikipedia: class=MsoBibl

Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

E8 L70 – Monarch Butterfly

Probably the most iconic butterfly on the planet, the Monarch Butterfly is an interesting subject, as it progresses from a little bitty inchworm to the beautiful yet robust little creature we call a butterfly.
It all starts with the hatching of the egg. The little green caterpillar that inches its way around on the leaf is a First instar caterpillar. It is pale green and translucent, with no visible colors or antennae yet, and it is very small; about 2-6 mm long, and a quarter of that wide. It eats the egg it hatched from, and immediately begins eating the plant that it is on. This plant is likely to be a milkweed, as the mother laid the egg on her last food stop back at home.
As it eats the milkweed, it collects cardenolides, a chemical that makes them taste horrendous to other animals.
Once it has enough food, it will molt and become a second instar caterpillar. By this time, it has the characteristic bands of black, yellow and white, which actually serves as a warning to predators that says, “I taste disgusting!” The antennae, or as they’re sometimes called, tentacles, start to grow; one pair on the rear end of the caterpillar (the abdomen) and one on the head (thorax) of the caterpillar.
It then molts and becomes a third instar caterpillar. This one has more distinct bands and gains a few more legs (not that they don’t already have enough). The tentacles grow longer, and the caterpillar starts to eat the leaf edges. As it grows, it is eating more food than it needs, to have enough food for the pupa stage, where they don’t eat at all.
It then molts again and becomes a fourth instar. The fourth instar is pretty much just a little bit more complicated of a band pattern, and a good bit bigger. This instar’s development is just gaining white spots on the prolegs near the abdomen of the caterpillar . It then molts again and becomes the final instar – the fifth instar.
The fifth instar has an even more complex banding, so complex that it’s almost like a “caterpillar full-body fingerprint” – each pattern is unique to the specific caterpillar. It also gains even more legs, especially the small ones up under the head.
Once it is full, the caterpillar will then go searching for a pupation site, likely under a leaf or somewhere similar. It will then weave itself a sticky silk pad, and hang under it, as it molts a pupa for itself. This whole process, along with the pupation and emergence, depending on the temperatures, takes from as little as twenty-five days to a max of seven weeks. Through this time as a caterpillar, it has grown significantly. As a first instar the caterpillar was 2-6 mm long and from 0.5 to 1.5 mm wide, compared to 25-45mm long and 5-8 wide, as well as the fifth being 2000 times heavier.
In the pupa stage, the caterpillar molts itself a chrysalis, which is normally bluish-green with small gold spots. As the butterfly forms inside, the chrysalis becomes translucent and the orange and black pattern of wings is clearly visible. This takes about two weeks; when that time is over, the final butterfly emerges in its full glory.
The adult butterfly hangs upside down for a few minutes after emergence and allows its wings to dry. The butterfly then pumps fluids into its wings and takes off to eat some sap.
While the caterpillar can only feed on milkweed, the adult can feed on a variety of other plants, such as goldenrod, horseweed, asters, thistles, alfalfa, red clover, tall ironweed, teasel, dame’s rocket, spotted Joe-Pye weed and coneflower, and of course, milkweed. Their favorite, though, is by far the milkweed plant.
Once they have taken their fill of sap from one of the above plants, they find the migration path and start their 4000-mile journey to a butterfly reservation. Say our butterfly starts in, say, the east coast of the US. It would probably travel towards the Mexico Reservation. It would start at, say, Maine, and skim down the east coast, pass the Gulf of Mexico, and skim the edge of Mexico to get to a sanctuary at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains in Mexico. The butterfly’s trip is over 2,500 miles long, and some butterflies don’t make the trip.
When they reach the sanctuary near October, the butterflies settle down on the trees, which are often dying. They settle down and hibernate through the winter. Once the winter is passed, the butterflies then migrate home, and when they get there, lay their egg, lay down, and die.
With the laying of the egg, the process resets, and the butterfly goes from egg, to caterpillar, to pupa, and then finally to follow the same trip their parents made, all the way to Mexico, and all the way back, only to lay their egg and reset the process again…. It goes on indefinitely…. That’s the life cycle of a butterfly.


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