Giving Back

butterfly gardenPhyllis Wilson, a member of the Texas Master Naturalist of Cypress Basin made the drive from her home in Longview to help re¬habilitate the pollinator garden at the Jeffer¬son Primary School. While Diane Mabus and Kay Lowery, both Master Gardeners, made the drive from Linden, garden gloves and clip¬pers in hand. All determined to help make a difference in the overgrown butterfly garden at the Jefferson Primary School campus.
Ms. Wilson stated, “This is a wonderful mentoring opportunity between the high school and primary school students, Collins Academy staff and volunteers. For a small town like Jefferson, to have an organization like Collins Academy, the project organizer, is wonderful. We don’t have anything like this in Longview”. She said, “I am here for the kids, a sentiment echoed by all the participants. “I want to see them get interested and excited about the outdoors. Having the students in¬volved in this project will give them a sense of ownership and something to admire, that they played a part in, she concluded.”
And, the students were involved. Members of the Jefferson High School Horticulture Class, guided by Agriculture Instructor Ryne Sikes went to work at the school, pulling weeds, digging and pruning the over¬grown garden. But it didn’t stop there. The students, as they do throughout the school year, had grown and tended the plants that would be planted after the prep work was completed. The plants, fresh from the high school greenhouse included, verbena, mealy blue sage and milkweed, all certain to attract butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds to the area.
dig 3Fifty Primary students, filed out in orderly lines anxious to see the progress being made on their garden. The High School students serving as mentors, placed plants in tiny hands and helped them dig holes for the plants.
Mr. Sikes, a DeKalb native new to Jefferson, was delighted with the participation by his students. He said, “It is great to see the older students teaming up guiding the young ones. Of the project, Sikes said, I want to inspire the kids and teach them life skills. Something they can use and be proud of as they get old¬er.
We couldn’t do this sort of thing without the help of Collins Academy…
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