Butterflies and Blooms East's new butterfly garden

Several students from Mr Engel's Environmental Studies class have created a new addition to East's Spring Decor: A Butterfly Garden.

A group of five students- Emily Deeds, Amber Clare, Emily Taliaferro, Sarah Tytar, Josh Russell, and Kaylie Conley looked at an empty patch of mulch outside and decided it needed to change. On May 14th, after a long period of planning, the students, as well as a few volunteers spend cougar hour bringing their garden to life.

The Task ahead

Group Member Emily Deeds described the area in question as “Bare except for a few dead mums and dead grass.” Her and the rest of the group thought it to be a real eyesore. And Mr Engel, their enviornmental studies teacher agreed:

"Looking around this school we now have the cougar statue when you walk in from the student lot and when you walk in from the bus loop its just been kinda bare so we’ve been looking for ways kind of spice up the landscape in the school.”

Deeds confirms this opinion: “He...doesn’t like how bare the bus loop garden is right now. I don’t think anyone at this school does...it looks a bit ugly.”

the road to approval

After they identified the bus loop garden as the environmental issue they were to address for their upcoming project, the group of students spent several weeks coming up with ideas for the garden, lists of supplies, and types of plants as they worked within the constraints given to them: all plants must be full sun, drought resistant, low maintenance, and must be a maximum 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.

The process of getting approved, not once, not twice, but three times was no easy task. After they presented their idea to an Enthusiastic Mr Engel, they then prepared for and presented during a SANE meeting. When they were approved by them, Deeds sent a list of the plants, their sizes, and their blooming seasons to Principal Fisher, who finally gave them the "OK" to start planting.

The Work Begins

At first, the students were unsure of what their soon-to-be garden would look like. Should they plant a structured garden, with ordered and patterned rings of plants, or should they pursue a more natural, meadow-like garden?

“We might go...with a mix of both by doing a more meadowyish sort of patterned one so we can sort of plant the plants wherever.” Deeds concedes, then they won't need to buy so many multiples of the same plant to create structured patterns.

As for the focus of the garden, the group decided to remain faithful to their butterfly theme: “Right now we decided the centerpiece plant was gonna be a butterfly bush...we had a height limit of 2-4 feet because we didn’t want to block visibility from the cafeteria out to the bus loop, but I think since butterfly bushes are airy, you’ll be able to see through them.”

How WE can help

In order to cover the costs spent on the plants and supplies used on the garden, the group has set up three flower pots- one in the main office, one in the library, and one in Mr Engel's classroom- in which they will collect donations. The group asks you to donate if you can!

Why a butterfly Garden?

The idea of a butterfly garden mainly stemmed from the groups shared interest in gardening and plants, but the garden does so much more for not only butterflies, but for all pollinators.

“It’ll be a place where they can get food and shelter and...we’ll have milkweed which will be a place for monarchs to lay eggs and caterpillars to eat the leaves and a place to have all of them grow and flourish."

Something Mr Engel is most excited for is the longevity of the project: “It’s gonna be something my future classes are gonna maintain so it kind creates a little legacy.”

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