GGEF grant funds butterfly garden
at DR Hill Middle School

photo

When the garden is finished, students will use the space to write, read, draw, rehearse, sing, plant, take photos and/or meditate.

"I look forward to expanding the garden to make it a place where the entire school will want to spend time."

Jackie Knafelc.

 

 

Jackie Knafelc, a special education teacher at DR Hill Middle School, is using butterflies to get her students excited about learning in a different way. Her goal is a butterfly garden her students will build, study and enjoy.

A grant from the Greater Greer Education Foundation last year provided the funds to bring her butterfly garden to life.

This year students will care for and maintain the butterfly garden that was begun last year. When it's finished, she hopes the garden will be embraced by all the students at DR Hill.

So far, "the garden is doing very well," she said.

Last year, the students measured and designed the garden space, created an area suitable to maintain a variety of butterflies, researched the plants necessary for butterfly eggs, got their hands dirty while learning the skill of proper planting and worked cooperatively to build a school garden. Students will used math skills to problem-solve and measure.

"We began the process by planting seeds during the winter, which grew in the classroom. The students had the opportunity to watch them grow (and fail to grow). This, as we all know, is part of life."

After the garden box was built, the students had the hands-on experience of filling it with dirt.

"When the weather warmed up, they each planted at least two plants," she said. "I was able to buy several nectar plants, a hose and a nozzle. The students cared for it during the Spring by watering and weeding."

Knafelc said that by the time the students arrive back to school in August, she expects the garden to be on its way to becoming fully established.

In the butterfly garden, students will learn about local species of butterflies as well as the host plants needed for the eggs. Students will also use science skills such as observation, inquiry and problem solving.

"Many of my students are not on a diploma track, so developing skills in gardening and learning about plants will be a great asset in terms of career goals," she said. "The garden can provide a context for learning how math and science relate to everyday life when they practice measurement, track changes over time, observe plant growth and develop an understanding of nutrients and soil."

In deciding on a butterfly garden, Knafelc's main objective was to provide an engaging environment that promotes learning, to get students to appreciate the butterflies' natural habitat and to use the outdoor space to connect to nature.

When the garden is finished, students will use the space to write, read, draw, rehearse, sing, plant, take photos and/or meditate.

"I look forward to expanding the garden to make it a place where the entire school will want to spend time," she said.

Above, work continues this year on DR Hill's butterfly garden. See more pictures below from work this year.

 

Students below at work last year as the garden was begun.

 

 

 

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