Ascension School students create butterfly garden

Fifth-graders at Ascension School spread mulch around the school’s new butterfly pollinator garden May 17. Staff from the Louisville Nature Center planted certain native plant species in an effort to attract monarch butterflies, which serve as pollinators. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

Students at Ascension School turned a little-used green space on the school’s campus into a Certified Butterfly Waystation Garden.

The idea for the butterfly garden started with Ascension fifth-grader Samantha Richardson who learned about the decline of monarch butterflies and the subsequent impact on the environment.

“Monarch butterflies are very endangered. They are pollinators, just like bees, and they are very important to the Earth. I came to Ms. Jackel and told her that I wanted to create a garden at school,” Richardson said.

Intrigued by the idea and the opportunity to teach students about pollinators, science teacher Donna Jackel contacted the Louisville Nature Center to learn more about the possibility of creating this special garden at Ascension.

Staff of the Louisville Nature Center came to the school and planted the bushes and shrubs, which are all native to Kentucky. The garden was funded by a grant from the nature center, and Ascension parishioners purchased the mulch.

Not only have the students learned about monarchs and other pollinators in class, they have also gained hands-on experience spreading mulch and tending to the garden.

Jackel said she envisions the garden serving a long-term purpose at Ascension. Next year, she said, she plans to bring her class out to the garden to study life cycles.

“It also fits in line with Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ ” and his call to care for the Earth, Jackel said.

Jackel said she plans to get the whole school involved in the garden. There are plans to put in paving stones and benches.

“Students can come out here for contemplation with their journal,” she said.

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