If You Build It, They Will Come
Would you like to learn how to create a butterfly garden? Here you will find useful information on butterfly habitats and plants that attract butterflies.
It's an age-old dilemma. Educators are constantly looking for better ways to teach science and offer real-life experiences in the study of nature and the environment - to maximize instructional time while providing a truly meaningful educational experience.
A butterfly garden is the perfect outdoor teaching lab, where the learning possibilities are as vast as your and your students' imaginations. In a butterfly garden, students have real-life experiences with nature and the environment and learn about:
- Ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity
- Life cycles and food chains
- Water, water quality and water conservation
- Zoology, botany and biology
- Recycling, composting and litter control
- Conservation and preservation
Butterflies as Teachers
As human habitat continues to expand, wildlife homes and mating and feeding grounds are being fragmented and destroyed. Designing your schoolyard butterfly garden can provide students a lens for examining the natural history of the area in which they live and how humans have altered it over time. Butterfly habitats can truly be a teaching lab for science and natural history, environmental stewardship and conservation.
We are constantly telling our children to think globally and act locally, and through the outdoor-classroom experience of a butterfly habitat, students will learn that the actions of one person can and do impact the environment. By preserving the environment and creating safe havens for wildlife, students can help to improve the balance of nature as well as the health of our planet.
Mt. Magazine State Park and the International Butterfly Festival
Mt. Magazine State Park in Logan County and at Arkansas' highest peak is a haven for butterflies. While the Diana Fritillary can be seen in other areas of The Natural State, the butterfly is in abundance on Mt. Magazine during the summer months. And several species of butterflies, most notably the Monarch, migrate over and around Mt. Magazine in September. These and other beautiful species of butterflies can be seen during school fieldtrips and are celebrated annually during the state's International Butterfly Festival in Paris.