The William Paca Middle School Garden Club recently received a grant from Monarch Watch to start the school year off on their newest environmental project – planting of native grass to help increase the monarch butterfly population.
Last June, the William Paca Garden Club, under the leadership of Honors Living Environment teacher Amanda Huff and Honors ELA teacher Maria Brandis, received milkweed plants that have been planted and established with other native plants in the Paca courtyard. Students were delighted when they returned in September to see the diverse changes to the courtyard and were amazed by the caterpillars and butterflies that had discovered the garden over the summer.
As the project progresses, William Paca students will be researching the amount of biodiversity that exists in the native grass garden as well as the benefits that biodiversity brings to their community. Students will also have the chance to enjoy quiet moments in the garden area in which they can observe or simply appreciate nature.
In the years to come, students are hoping to become an established Monarch way station, so that William Paca can collaborate with peers and scientists to collect data on the monarch migration and the status of monarch butterflies throughout North America.
About the monarch butterfly on Long Island
Monarch butterfly populations support a rich biodiversity of native grass species for Long Island. It has become a priority of Long Island homeowners, landscape designers and local government officials to bring back native grasses to Long Island, which help with drainage and filtering of water that goes into our precious bays, estuaries, and oceans.
It is the hope of the William Paca Garden Club to increase awareness and knowledge in the William Floyd community about the need for pollinators, native grasses and ultimately the importance of biodiversity in restoring stable ecosystems to their beautiful community.