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Front Page - Friday, July 26, 2019

BASF’s butterfly garden unveiled at Orchard Knob

Volunteers from BASF and students at Orchard Knob plant milkweed seeds in a pollinator garden at the school. - Photograph provided

Orchard Knob Elementary School students are receiving a lesson in sustainability through a newly installed pollinator garden on the school’s campus.

By nurturing the plants, the students will help to provide a habitat for monarch butterflies and restore the dwindling population.

The Chattanooga garden is the latest in BASF’s nationwide biodiversity initiative called the Living Acres Monarch Challenge. For weeks students tended to the garden, installed by BASF employees, and watered the flowers. Before the end of school, they launched newly-formed butterflies, which had been undergoing metamorphosis while in the students’ care.

“Through this monarch waystation, we can educate the next generation about environmental protection and sustainability,” says Rob Gagliano, BASF director in Chattanooga. “Ensuring a healthy monarch butterfly population teaches an important lesson in environmental awareness while connecting children with nature.”

BASF launched the Living Acres Monarch Challenge to show how modern agriculture can coexist with sanctuaries for monarchs and the role it plays in promoting biodiversity.

The number of monarchs has dramatically declined in the United States in recent years due to issues like overwintering, habitat loss, extreme weather events, low nectar sources and sparse milkweed – the only plant that provides monarchs with food for reproduction. Nurturing the milkweed plants allows students to experience how important habitats are to the wildlife surrounding them.

“Interactive lessons outside the classroom are valuable to our students,” says LaFrederick Thirkill, Orchard Knob principal. “Instilling an appreciation of nature gives children a sense of their footprint in the world.”

Source: BASF