Third and fourth graders at Savannah Adventist Christian School (Savannah, Ga.) excitedly changed into work clothes and garden gloves on Sept. 20, eager to work outside in their butterfly garden. Each student was able to dig a hole and plant one specially selected nectar or host plant in the garden planted by last year’s class outside their classroom windows. With help from an adult, students added the right amount of soil amendment and water.
The garden has host plants for Gulf Fritillary, Monarch, and Swallowtail butterflies. Students have also placed in the area a small dish of water, stones, and fruit to attract Emperors, Buckeyes, and more.
The garden has provided easy opportunity for third-graders and fourth-graders to view several species of butterfly and numerous Ruby-throated hummingbirds and even to observe a Gulf Fritillary laying eggs on the passion vine that last year’s class planted. The eggs hatched into tiny orange and black caterpillars, and Esther Martinez, principal and teacher, brought several inside for students to observe. Martinez hopes this year’s students will be able to experience the miraculous process of metamorphosis.
The benefits of the garden project have extended beyond just one classroom. Students from all three of the school’s early childhood wings have visited the caterpillars in the classroom and have walked through the garden, enjoying God’s book of nature.
Written by Esther Martinez, principal and teacher