Freshman Center Monarch Butterfly Garden Project
Each fall, hundreds of millions of Monarch Butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to overwintering areas in Mexico and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in the spring. Beginning in the mid-1990s the monarch population began to decline due to an increase use of herbicides, which greatly reduced the presence of milkweed, a plant which Monarchs depend on for their survival during this migration.
In an effort to help the situation students at the Freshman Center, under the guidance of biology teacher Kevin O’Toole, designed twenty-nine potential gardens which would provide sustenance for the monarchs on their journey. On April 19th, the design created by Lizbeth Sanchez, Lisbeth Pardinaz and Janet Hermoso, was chosen as the winner at the Monarch Butterfly Great Room Exhibition.
“Working on this project allowed me to experience something I have never done before. It exposed me to a career field I have never imagined being for me. Now I’m considering being an engineer in the future,” Lizbeth Sanchez said. “The message that I hope this project gets across is that everybody can create something like this or better. I didn’t know anything about native plants and now I can name you many. This garden is the perfect opportunity for everyone to come out and learn what this garden has.”
On Saturday, April 28th, the 5,000-square-foot garden, called the Citizen Science Monarch Butterfly Ecological Engineering Project, broke ground with the help of almost 200 students, faulty, family members and volunteers from the community. The garden, which contains milkweed, forty species of native plants, several trees and a pond, is located on the north side of the Freshman Center (Corner of 16th Street and 54th Avenue).