Creating butterfly gardens and using them in teaching was the focus of a recent workshop at O’Halloran Hill Kindergarten for teachers from around the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges (AMLR) region.
The twenty-one workshop participants learnt to build a butterfly garden, including how to grow butterfly attracting native plants, and also identify the different stages of a butterfly life cycle.
The workshop was prompted by interest from teachers about the benefits of butterfly gardens in education, particularly the large number of applications to create butterfly gardens in the 2016-17 round of the AMLR School NRM Action Grants.
Michelle Morrissey, Director (on left) and Eleanor Rowe, Teacher from O'Halloran Hill Kindergarten. Photo Sam Ryan.
The workshop compliments a new, free module for teachers on how to build and use butterfly gardens in learning at school.
Natural Resources AMLR and City of Marion NRM Education Officer Sam Ryan, who presented on the day, said the purpose of the session was to give teachers at the schools that received funding a good base knowledge in how to set up their butterfly garden.
Twelve schools received School NRM Action Grants to create butterfly gardens and representatives from majority of the grant winning schools were present at the workshop.
Mr Ryan said that the workshop was a success.
“The only constructive criticism we received was that the session was too short!” he said.
The session involved a presentation from staff from O’Halloran Hill Kindergarten, who discussed the process of involving children in creating a butterfly garden and gave a tour of their already established garden, which they worked with AMLR staff to create after receiving a School NRM Action Grant.
President of the Butterfly Conservation Society of SA Mike Moore also presented on the day, covering the butterflies of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges and their food and shelter requirements.
Native plant selection and navigating resources on the AMLR and Butterfly Conservation Society websites was covered by Natural Resources AMLR staff members Rob Wallace and Jeremy Gramp respectively.
Attracting colourful insects and being naturally beautiful aren’t the only benefits of a butterfly garden.
Mr Ryan said, “It’s a great way for children to actually interact with their local environment and to learn about plants and some of the animals you’re most likely to see in a metro area.”
The new teaching module, ‘Butterfly gardens – taking action’, describes how to plan, fund and build a butterfly garden and use it in the curriculum.
“It explains how to go about selecting a site, choosing the right plants, putting in things like water and basking spots and protection from predators, all the way through to how to maintain the garden.”
Download a pdf of ‘Butterfly Garden – taking action’ here.
Find out how your school can include natural resources in teaching. There are NRM education officers available to help in Northern, Central and Southern Adelaide, and the Barossa. Call 08 8273 9100 for more information.