butterfly gardens do not only attract butterflies
Planting a butterfly garden is a great way to add a colorful touch to a school playground and to demonstrate biodiversity outside of the classroom. As part of a grade 9 biodiversity project at the German European School Singapore (GESS), part of the school’s sunny rooftop garden was transformed into a flourishing butterfly oasis. Key topics are the ecological link to the nearby Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, the life cycle and the metamorphosis of a butterfly as well as research into appropriate animal feed and nectar plants. Students learn which perennials and shrubs not only attract butterflies, but also pollinating birds and insects, and how many plants are required to cover the relevant area. Before planting the crops, the students analyse the soil conditions, such as how moist the soil is, the soil temperature, the pH-value and the soil composition.
The joint planting acvitity is a great experience for the entire group. Many students planted for the first time and were not shy of getting their hands dirty. The plants are labelled and a big notice board is prepared with an overview of the various nectar plants and their associated butterfly species. It is now up to the students and teachers to maintain the garden and to observe and monitor which animals visit the butterfly garden and bring it to life. These are all important discoveries which will find their way back to the classroom, expand the curriculum and enrich the students’ knowledge.