Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Create your own butterfly garden for Earth Day

Today billions of people across the world will take action for Earth Day, including thousands of Girl Scouts across southeast Texas. This year’s global theme, Green Cities, emphasizes the need to create sustainable communities in an every changing environment impacted by climate change. Through Girl Scouting, girls learn the importance of conservation, responsibility and sustainability to ensure the safety of our planet for future generations.

“Our Girl Scouts are being exposed to ideas and discussions on the environment every day and everywhere,” says Melissa Hardy, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) girl experience manager responsible for environmental programming. “With the support of local conservation groups and nature and wildlife associations, our programs show girls how the smallest change, like starting a recycling program at school or planting a pollinator garden, can make a difference in preserving the earth.”

Through the It’s Your Planet—Love It! activity series, girls at each grade level learn about grade-appropriate environmental issues such as clean water and air, noise pollution, global change, soil contamination and agricultural processes. Girls plant rain and pollinator gardens, participate in area clean-ups and start recycling programs at their schools, promoting the importance of sustainable green spaces which help regulate air quality and climate, recharge groundwater supplies and protect lakes and streams from being polluted.

This Earth Day, GSSJC is encouraging members of the community to create their own green space by following these easy steps to make a sustainable butterfly garden. Creating a butterfly garden will not only add beauty to any outdoor space but will also help your ecosystem.

How to make your own butterfly garden:

  1. Decide the location of your butterfly garden. Choose an area that is in full sun. Outline the area with stakes and string.
  2. Excavate the area with a spade or shovel to remove sod and expose the soil.
  3. Work organic compost into the soil with a garden rake or hoe.
  4. Select a combination or perennial and annual butterfly-attracting plants, like azaleas, pansies or knockout roses for a full garden.
  5. Dig holes in the excavated soil with a shovel so that the holes are large enough for the root systems of the selected plants.
  6. Remove a plant from its pot and gently separate the root system with your fingers. Set the plant's root system into a hole. Place tall-growing plants near the back of the garden, place mid-sized plants near the middle of the garden, and place shorter plants in the front areas of the garden. Cover the plant's root system with soil and water the plant thoroughly.

In the above photo, Girl Scout Juniors Ruby M., Meaghann J. and Sara W. plant a butterfly garden as part of a Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council gardening workshop at Camp Whispering Pines in Nacogdoches. The Council is encouraging the community to celebrate Earth Day by creating sustainable green spaces of their own.

How is your troop celebrating Earth Day?
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