Union, community partners complete Monarch waystations

Published on
April 29, 2016

Union, community partners complete Monarch waystations Union College and several partners from throughout the local community have completed a project to improve butterfly habitats on the college campus.

Students from Union College, Barbourville Independent Schools and the Bell County Technology Center installed plants and garden benches for Monarch butterfly habitats at two locations – Union’s Center for Civic Engagement and the Turner Outdoor Center. The project was student led, but funded through a grant from Kentucky PRIDE.

Jodi Carroll, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement, said the project will help to support Monarch Butterfly populations as well as create learning opportunity for students.

“We hope these waystations will serve as a center of learning for students of all ages,” Carroll said. “We can’t forget that these little creatures proudly sport the colors of orange and black, just like Union. We hope to have them visible in large numbers at the waystations within the next few years.”

Carroll said students and visitors will be able to observe butterflies and learn lessons related to their life cycle, predator and prey defense mechanisms, habitat conservation, migration and butterfly gardening. The waystation at the Center for Civic Engagement was installed near a community vegetable garden.

Students from Kevin Lefevers’ carpentry class at the Bell County Technology Center provided expertise to the project by constructing benches that could be used by visitors at each waystation site. Last week, Carroll visited the school to meet with students and discuss the project. This week, students from Barbourville Independent Schools, with assistance from Robin Jones, Family Resource Director, took a field trip to each of the sites. Those students planted native wildflowers and milkweed at the waystations, an integral component in attracting butterflies as well as other beneficial insects.

“Each community partner we brought together for this project, played a significant role in the success of this project,” Carroll said. “I hope this project is one that continues to bring people together to support conservation efforts throughout our community.”

Carroll hopes the Union College butterfly habitats can become recognized as certified Monarch waystations registered with Monarch Watch. Union can do that by maintaining the site for at least one year and documenting that monarchs have visited the site.

“It has been very rewarding to collaborate with so many people on this project, especially all the young people. And, today was just the first step in a larger process,” Carroll said.  

To learn more about preserving Monarch habitats, please visit www.monarchwatch.org. To learn more about other environmental education programs in eastern Kentucky, visit www.kypride.org