Students create butterfly garden

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Eight girls from Northern Shores Elementary School pose for the camera in the butterfly garden they devised. The students used their initiative to get the project off the ground.

Thanks to the initiative of a group of first-grade girls, Northern Shores Elementary School recently unveiled a butterfly garden.

Eight students now in second grade — Skylar Hartgerink, Abigail Austin, Jordan Shipe, Catelyn Taylor, Molly Dodge, Yvonne Stinson, LaToya Lawhorn and Celeste Moore — brought the garden idea directly to principal Tara Moore.

“They came to me last year, when in first grade, and they drafted a letter (about) how they would like to start a butterfly garden, and even did research to see what plants would attract butterflies,” Moore said. “They would schedule appointments to discuss the layout. They were very professional … they would call or come by the office to schedule a meeting.”

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The area earmarked for the garden, next to the bus ramp, was cleared of some bushes during the summer, Moore said.

The students’ parents then organized donations of plants and materials and got to work during September and October.

“Members got together and did a lot of legwork in the community getting donations,” Moore said.

Two large flowerbeds include a blue bird bath, a butterfly stepping stone and a bench.

The girls devised four garden rules: Do not walk on the flowers; Do not talk too loud; Watch out for caterpillars and butterflies; and Do not touch cocoons or chrysalis.

Moore said that the girls had been studying plants for the Standards of Learning and “are very creative.

“In the past they have had a school garden. I think they just came up with it in their own, maybe spurred by class lessons.”

One of the girls, from a military family, will be moving away from the area in December, which encouraged the team to “bring the project into fruition” as quickly as possible, Moore added.

“When it first was planted, it was amazing the number of butterflies that were attracted to it. The girls saw some of the butterflies — they were ecstatic.”

Being beside the bus ramp, the new garden is in a high-traffic area for students. But Moore says the children have all taken a degree of ownership in the garden.

“If one student accidentally stepped into it, they would tell them to stay on the path,” she said.