By Stacey Bomser (As reported in Our City of Weston Magazine, Feb 2016)
As a “lifer” at The Sagemont School, Carolina Alzamora has fond memories of her days on the Lower School Campus. The 11th grader wanted to leave a legacy that would last long after she graduated. Thanks to her efforts, future Sagemont students will enjoy the beauty of a butterfly garden.
Carolina says the idea of creating a butterfly garden particularly appealed to her because “it was educational and involved younger students.” In fact, fourth grade students helped build the garden, personalizing it with their names.
In order to receive free plants and program support, Carolina applied for the Environmental Protection – Habitat Centennial Garden Project grant from the Youth Environmental Alliance. With the support and endorsement of school administrators and Science Teacher Sheilla Galloway, Carolina secured grants to build two different types of gardens – a basic butterfly garden and a monarch mania.
Carolina credits the younger students for making her dream a reality. “The students, under the lead of Mrs. Galloway, designed the landscape area where they planted the bushes. The final design, an irregular, oval shaped area, came out as a very creative and distinct spot.”
One of her favorite aspects of the butterfly garden was the brick border. “Each participant wrote their name on a brick. I had the honor to write mine on one too. In my opinion, this personalized the garden,” notes Carolina. “After this school year, students may visit the Lower School Campus and see their names and be reminded that they were part of this environmental and collaborative project.”
Carolina is appreciative of how the school embraced her project. She says the younger students did all of the digging and planting under the direction and supervision of a naturalist, environmental coordinator, and school staff, after attending an educational session.
According to Carolina, “The Sagemont Lower School truly adopted the butterfly garden. Sustainability was their commitment; to water, care and protect it, not only as part of the landscape of the school, but to show support to promote life and care for a healthy ecosystem.”
With the butterfly garden project now complete, Carolina is proud of her accomplishment. “It was a rewarding feeling to engage young students to be part of building this butterfly garden. Not only did they learn about how important butterflies are, but they excitedly contributed to support their ecosystem value.”
Carolina encourages other high school students to undertake similar projects, “where they engage younger students, making them part of a change or action for a better world.”