Thunder Hill second-graders put in a garden to attract butterflies


May 12, 1999|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SECOND-GRADE teacher Ginny Ellingsworth got the idea of planting a butterfly garden with her pupils at Thunder Hill Elementary School after reading an article in The Sun about the Dorsey Hall Garden Club.

"I saw that they were willing to work with schools on projects like this, so I gave them a call," she said.

The second-grade science curriculum in Howard County public schools has included a unit on butterflies for at least 10 years, Ellingsworth said.

"We watch the caterpillars through the whole metamorphosis process and release them into the atmosphere every year," she said. "I've always thought it would be nice if we had a place for them to go."

Ellingsworth contacted Karen Carter, membership chairwoman for the Dorsey Hall Garden Club. Carter said club members were enthusiastic about the project.

"I very much enjoy teaching other people what I know about gardening, hoping that they'll get the same pleasure out of gardening that I do," she said. "This club loves to help children with wholesome activities that will give them pleasure and self-esteem."

Last year, the club won an award from the National Council of State Garden Clubs for a garden they designed and planted at Waterloo Elementary School, and a state-level award for their garden at Mount View Middle School.

Club member Carol Christens-Barry designed a landscape plan for the Thunder Hill project that included 44 plants that attract butterflies.

Michael Rock, Thunder Hill Gifted and Talented Program resource teacher, assisted pupils in soliciting donations of planting materials and starting a children's garden club, an enrichment project.

Parent Heidi Roosa volunteered to oversee the children's club, which will maintain and enhance the butterfly garden and plan other gardening projects at the school.

Warren Boyer, owner of Glenwood Gardens, a nursery in Glenwood, donated 90 percent of the planting materials.

Thunder Hill's PTA provided funding for the rest of the plants.

At 9 a.m. May 5, Carter and Karen Griffith, another member of the Dorsey Hall Garden Club, were met at Thunder Hill by 12 parent volunteers, 72 second-graders and teachers Jacqueline Ellis-Brown, Ellingsworth and Rock, all eager to begin planting.

The pupils were ready.

"I'm excited about digging in the dirt," said Sydney Nickens, 7.

Madeleine Robson, 7, said, "I can't wait to let the butterflies go to our garden."

The second-graders took their duties seriously.

"My class is trying to put the plants in the ground very carefully so they don't fall down or get too much soil on them and die," Adam Pickett, 8, said.

"We're putting the plants in their correct places," said Sam Moore, 8. "If they got squooshed together, they would die."

Three hours later, the plants were in the ground and the area was mulched and watered.

"I'm absolutely thrilled with how it went," Carter said. "Every single step of the way, the school was supportive of what we were suggesting, happy about the possibilities and completely committed to working with us to meet the goals for the project. It went like clockwork."

Principal Thomas Bruner said, "I think this butterfly garden will be a wonderful addition to Thunder Hill. It will dress up the building and attract some wonderful insects the children study in second grade."

Assistant Principal Diane Martin agreed.

"The students and the community will enjoy the beautiful plants and seeing the fruits of their labor," Martin said. "Mrs. Ellingsworth did a marvelous job of coordinating the efforts of the garden club with needs of our school."

The next time you're in the neighborhood, stop by to admire the work of the Thunder Hill community and the Dorsey Hall Garden Club. The school is at 9357 Mellenbrook Road.

The Dorsey Hall Garden Club has 35 active members and accepts 10 people from outside the Dorsey Hall area for membership each year.

The club meets monthly from September through June. Dues are $22 a year, which helps pay for speakers and materials for civic projects.

Information: 410-750-3135.

Baskets for babies

On Monday, six members of the MOMS Club of Columbia delivered 50 packages for new mothers and their infants to Howard County General Hospital.

The club raised $6,000 from corporate and individual donations to fund the project.

Club member Linda Lagalo-Spano said the baskets contained diapers, blankets, toys, disposable camera, baby wipes and more.

A copy of "Mom's Baby Care Manual," a booklet developed by the club with advice on such things as breast-feeding and car safety, was included.

Lagalo-Spano said "Baskets for Babies" was the brainchild of Karen Lewthwaite, administrative vice president. The baskets will be distributed by the hospital to new mothers who have financial problems.

Kim Barnes, nurse manager of the maternal-child unit at the hospital, said, "We were excited to get the donation. The time and effort needed to raise the money and put this together is appreciated by the hospital."

The MOMS Club of Columbia was begun in 1993 and has 220 members.

Information: 410-997-0682.

Eat, drink and be merry

Don't forget to visit the village center in Wilde Lake from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday for the seventh "Taste of Wilde Lake," sponsored by village merchants.

Stroll down Lynx Lane to sample the free treats from David's Natural Market, Produce Galore, Hunan Family, The Pub and Omaha Steaks. Then make your way across the parking lot for more goodies from Today's Catch, Bagel Bin and Pizza Boli.

Games and cookie-decorating will be available for children, with entertainment by Boogie Express, Beale Street Puppets and more.

Consider bringing your gently used sports equipment to donate to this summer's "Re-Play Sale" to benefit Special Olympics Howard County.

Information: 410-730-3987.

Pub Date: 5/12/99

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