What began as an ASLA member presenting a unit on butterfly gardens to students at Southside Elementary School has become a much larger project. For the last four years, Michael Gilkey, Inc. has been integrally involved in establishing an edible garden, a bird and butterfly garden, and even leading kindergarten classes in the creation of their own shoebox butterfly gardens. For his last project, each child chose one verbena, one coral honeysuckle and one white guara, all generously donated by Mariposa Nursery. The children learned about the life cycle of the butterfly, Florida’s soils, the purpose of mulch, a bit of design, and plant care.
When approached by the Southside Elementary garden team about the dire need for a front school façade makeover, Gilkey volunteered his time and design to create a butterfly and bird habitat garden that would welcome students and parents into the historic building. The garden was planted in early 2013.
With the Southside Elementary butterfly and bird habitat garden ready to welcome winged visitors, it was time to designate the space a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The National Wildlife Federation recognizes spaces that provide food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young.
This newly hatched monarch butterfly was the first full time resident of the Southside Elementary butterfly and bird garden, a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat.
Michael A. Gilkey, Inc.’s continuing donation of time, design, materials and installation services for gardens and habitats has established the firm as Business Partners of Southside Elementary School for four consecutive years.
*Photos/story via Michael A. Gilkey, Inc., member submission from Sarasota, Florida.