Students learn about growing butterflies

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published April 28, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated April 26, 2013 at 10:04 a.m.
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Pat Knighten, Project WILD coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, talks to Amanda Colclasure’s second-grade class at Central Arkansas Christian’s North Little Rock Elementary School about the butterfly garden that will be funded by a $2,500 grant the school recently received.

Students at Central Arkansas Christian’s North Little Rock Elementary School will soon not only learn about Arkansas’ wildlife in the classroom, but will be seeing some of it, up close and personal, outside the classroom.

The school received a $2,500 grant from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to build a butterfly garden through the Project WILD Schoolyard Habitat Program. WILD stands for Wildlife in Learning Design.

Pat Knighten, Project WILD coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said Project WILD is an international program designed to educate children and students about wildlife and their habitats.

“It’s a great experience to be able to fund those schools and teach kids about our wildlife,” Knighten said.

Knighten said the butterfly garden will educate students on how much wildlife is actually in the state.

CAC North Little Rock Elementary is one of 11 sites statewide to receive the grant.

Funds for the grant come from the conservation license plates sold across the state, Knighten said. Those plates are the result of a specialty

license-plate program begun by the AGFC in 2000 to fund scholarships and other conservation education needs.

Amanda Colclasure, a CAC second-grade teacher, wrote the grant for her school.

“I had to attend a workshop to apply for the grant,” Colclasure said. “We had to pick a site on our school grounds to propose to use for a butterfly garden.”

The site that was chosen already had fencing surrounding it because it had previously housed playground equipment, Colclasure said.

She found out the school would receive the grant on March 26. She said that in her 15 years of teaching, she has never done anything like this.

“We’re going to prepare two 8-by-8-foot raised [flower] beds, where we’re going to plant native Arkansas plants,” Colclasure said.

The plants will range from Queen Anne’s lace to butterfly weed, Colclasure said. These plants will attract butterflies to the campus.

Along with the butterfly garden, Colclasure said, benches will be placed in the garden for teachers and students to use if a teacher wants to have class outside.

Construction on the butterfly garden has not started, but Colclasure said she wants it to begin before school is out for the summer.

“We’re going to get some of the fifth- and sixth-grade students to meet up after school and help build [the beds],” Colclasure said.

CAC North Little Rock

Elementary enrolls students in pre-K through the sixth grade. The plants in the garden will be assigned to different age groups of students, and they will be responsible for taking care of them, Colclasure said.

She said the students will benefit immensely from the butterfly garden being in place.

“Most of the kids today don’t go outside like when I was growing up,” Colclasure said. “They don’t know about wildlife unless their parents take them hunting or fishing.”

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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