Students Help Butterfly Project Take Flight

Eager to present a hands-on nature lesson, Meg Maccaroni 2014 got involved with an innovative project to mentor middle school students. Maccaroni, an Environmental Studies and Spanish double major, has just finished guiding sixth graders at Perkiomen Valley Middle School in creating a butterfly garden. “It was an opportunity for UC students to help sixth graders design a butterfly garden at Rambo Park in Trappe,” says Maccaroni. The goal was to teach about gardening and native species.

Fellow Ursinus students Hillary Anderson and Marina Campo worked with Maccaroni by volunteering to visit the students every Tuesday for three weeks to help them with the designing process. Together they organized a list of native plants that attract butterflies and support other wildlife. During each of the design sessions, the UC students mentored two competing teams.

“The teams were working to have their design chosen by town officials and eventually planted in the spring,” says Maccaroni, a native of Berlin, N.J. “The designs were judged on elements including plant diversity, strategic placement of plants, and creativity.”

Creative and enthusiastic, is the way Maccaroni describes the students. “They planned beautiful designs, and we emphasized the importance of choosing the right plants to help make the designs a reality.” The winning team will take a trip to Rambo Park soon to begin planting.

Now Maccaroni is preparing for Earth Day. Events at Ursinus will include tours to the organic garden, music, volleyball and Frisbee games, all-natural tie-dying, and food from local vendors. “We hope Collegeville families come to visit, and we are planning recycled crafts and face painting stations for kids,” she says. “We are aiming for a fun-filled celebration, but we’re also hoping the day reminds everyone of the importance of living sustainably and gives them some ideas on how to do so.”

Maccaroni is an admissions tour guide, part of Project Delphi, and just joined Escape Velocity.