Cleveland Elementary butterfly garden a volunteer effort

09/25/09 Arielle Stevenson
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

It’s morning and volunteers from Seminole Heights Community Gardens are already digging in the dirt. They are planting a butterfly garden at Cleveland Elementary. The plants and flowers are all native Florida species and use less water and reduce the need for fertilizers.

Janet Olt and her two daughters are tilling one of two smaller beds being planted on the school’s campus. Janet’s 17 year old daughter Lindsey says that kids do not understand where their food comes from, and that’s why she wanted to take part in the project.

In April, a garden was planted close to the river, in South Seminole Heights. Residents that did not have the resources to grow food in their own yards teamed up to create a larger community garden. Now the group has over 60 members.

Robin Milcowitz is the organizer for Seminole Heights Community Gardens. Natasha Motesharei is teaching then kids how to properly remove a potted plant to prepare it for planting. They squish the pots to loosen the roots from the bottom of the planter. When the plants are out, she shows them how to loosen the compacted soil at the bottom of the roots. Brenda Hill’s second grade class is helping plant the beds in the larger garden. Her student, Zemia, got to help plant one of the porterweed plants. Zemia says she loves gardening, has her own garden at home. Brenda Hill says this kind of hands on learning is important because it engages students. Cleveland Elementary’s butterfly garden was planted in recognition of the national day of service and remembrance, which honors those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

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