Just as caterpillars transform into butterflies, a corner of Trevose Day School and Neshaminy Montessori has blossomed into a beautiful habitat for local pollinators.
The creation of our brand new Butterfly Garden was a labor of love spearheaded by Helene Hines, Educational Director and Head Directress of Neshaminy Montessori. Together with twenty-four children from our Young Explorers and Adventure Camp, the group researched, planted, and tenderly cared for a blossom-filled haven that will provide safety, nourishment and shelter for the Monarch Butterfly and all of its winged insect friends. (To read about our Butterfly Garden in the Midweek Wire, click here!)
“The population of the Monarch Butterfly has been steadily decreasing in direct proportion to the housing development in the eastern part of the United States,” says Hines, who fell in love with gardening as a child while exploring nature with her father.
“Open areas full of milkweed and other wild plants have decreased in number, and this was the breeding ground of the Monarchs. The children and I took the butterfly pledge to help repopulate the Monarch Butterfly in our area.”
With support, guidelines and seeds from the National Wildlife Federation, our team got swiftly to work. Together they learned about the lifecycle of plants and trees and the vital role of pollinators like bees and butterflies in the circle of life. Then, they tapped their inner gardeners by growing plants from seed, weeding and watering like pros, and tending to each plant with lots of love and care.
In order to become a certified wildlife habitat, our garden must fill all of the needs of the Monarch and other butterflies. To do so, we strategically planted a range of plants and flowers to provide food and shelter — most importantly milkweed, which is the host plant of the Monarch caterpillar, along with blooms including butterfly bushes, coneflowers, rudbeckia, coreopsis, lantana and Verbena. The children crafted shallow butterfly water dishes and we added big rocks to provide the perfect spot for our insect VIPs to lounge in the sun.
“To eliminate one species is to upset the natural balance in our environment,” says Mrs. Hines who, along with the children, looks forward to welcoming Monarchs and other pollinator friends in the months and years to come. “The children are learning that no matter how small, each creature has a place in our environment.”