Flat Rock Middle is doing its part to enrich the environment with the installation of a pollinator trail garden. Teaming up with University of Georgia Fayette County Extension Office, the garden is part of the 4-H Monarch Movement to create a Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Trail in Fayette County.
The 4-H Monarch Movement is designed to promote awareness about the decline in the monarch butterfly population due to the loss of milkweed, the only plant that can nourish growing caterpillars after a monarch lays its eggs.
Flat Rock’s pollinator trail addition is the first installed at a Fayette middle school. The installment happened over the summer as Life Scout Ford Bachtel collaborated with the UGA Extension Office in Fayetteville to acquire plants established and ready to plant.
Recently, 8th grade students at Flat Rock, working with Kim Toal from the UGA Extension Office, placed additions in the space that were ready to grow as the seasons changed. Both perennial and annual varieties of plants are located in the outdoor learning space to include fruit and nut trees that create an orchard for both learning and production.
Over the last 12 months, they have established irrigation and also placed a fence around the pollinator space to both maintain and protect the garden.
“In support of the sustainability initiative we are trying to practice, increasing the diversity of plant species in the garden area will reduce the use of pesticides and attract beneficial pollinators to enhance the long term goal of establishing a permaculture mindset,” said Jeff Eller, STEAM facilitator at Flat Rock. “Students and teachers manage the location to explore the ecological factors that pollinators and other plants serve in the health of the natural world.”
Flat Rock Middle will be included as a stop on the Fayette Master Gardener Association garden tour on Sunday, April 25, 2021. Visitation at the Flat Rock Outdoor Learning space will be available between noon and 2 p.m.