Students at Morgan County Primary School (MCPS) have a revitalized butterfly garden, thanks to volunteer Wes Ryals, second grade teacher Ginny Kiepper, members of the MCPS Science/Butterfly Garden Committee, and the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO).

MCPS Principal Dr. Betsy Short said the garden was started by Trish Jones about 10 years ago.

According to Kiepper, Ryals worked to redesign the garden and get people to donate plants.

Ryals said he has worked on the garden for the past year-and-a-half. During that time he has planned and maintained the garden.

Ryals said that both the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens as well as a nursery in Winterville that is now out of business contributed plants.

Plants include chrysanthemums, cone flowers, black-eyed Susans, and butterfly bushes.

Kiepper noted that recent cold weather and storms have negatively impacted the garden.

Once it recovers, though, Ryals said it will take on the look of a meadow.

“Over the next two to three years the garden will fill back out,” he said.

Plants were chosen for their nectar or for serving as host plants, he said. He added that long-term the garden will be drought tolerant as well.

In the meantime, Ryals said they could use volunteers to help weed the garden.

“We’re trying to control what we have,” he said.

Students and teachers already are making use of the garden, though.

Kiepper’s class helped plant a flowering bush during the reopening ceremony Monday morning, taking turns digging the hole and filling it back in with the plant and dirt.

Back in their regular classroom students took turns going in groups of three to observe their three butterfly larvae before drawing and recording their observations.

Kiepper said each class at MCPS has butterfly larvae.

She added that Monday morning’s lesson included aspects of science, math, and writing.

As for future plans, Kiepper said she will take a week-long class at the Botanical Garden this summer to learn how to make even better use of the garden in classrooms.