After discovering in third grade that the Monarch Butterfly was endangered, she took the National Wildlife Federation’s Butterfly Heroes Pledge. From there, she learned how to germinate the seeds of milkweed, which is the only plant on which a monarch will lay eggs and the only food monarch caterpillars will eat.
Her family grew a large Butterfly-friendly garden that impressed people in her native city of San Luis Obispo in California and, through a citizen science program, caught the attention of local university professors.
She began collecting, tagging and logging butterflies to better help scientists track population health and growth, all while recording her work on the Roots and Chutes website.
Through these videos and her mother’s work, she met and had the opportunity to work with the legendary Jane Goodall.
Genevieve keeps an active lifestyle playing soccer and Frisbee, in addition to her schoolwork.
Since moving to Aylmer from the California Coast in the summer of 2018, she has begun to give lectures in primary and secondary schools across Gatineau and Ottawa. The 13-year-old has met with municipal councillor Audrey Bureau, as well as with the majors of Gatineau and Ottawa, Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin and Jim Watson, to have them take the mayor’s Monarch pledge.
The pledge, which also originates from the US-based National Wildlife Federation, asks mayors and other local and tribal government chief executives to take action to help save the iconic monarch butterfly, whose population has declined by 90% in the last 20 years.
After hearing of her work, the Mattel toy company reached out to Genevieve and her family to produce a video detailing her work. The video is available on YouTube as part of the company’s rescue heros video series that highlights kids at the forefront of positive change in their communities.
The young lady has also been asked to join the David Suzuki foundation’s Butterflyway project which aims to educate the masses and encourage the proliferation of milkweed gardens and other pollinator plant patches in local neighbourhoods to aid in the health of local bee and butterfly health.
Genevieve’s mother, Kimberlee Leroux, told the Bulletin that she is “very proud her daughter”. “It’s been a wild ride; she started when she was 9 and now she is 13. Every year, it’s more about the butterflies and her reach just keeps getting bigger to pursue this cause she loves.”
When asked what she plans on doing in the future, Genevieve responded, “I’d like to be a wildlife filmmaker and publish documentaries about different endangered species, starting, of course, with the Monarch Butterfly.”