Watauga Students at Caldwell Community College Add Butterfly Garden to Campus

Published Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm
butterfly garden group

Students in CCC&TI’s College Compass Program proudly pose for a photo with the class’ Butterfly Garden project. Pictured are: Front row, left to right – Jessica Penley and Juli Whitesides; Back row, left to right – Cassidy Turley, Robert Patteson and Dillon Bragg.

A special project has recently enabled Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s College Compass program students on the Watauga Campus to take flight, while at the same time further beautifying the most picturesque community college campus in North Carolina.

It’s hard to ignore their beautiful addition to campus, near the Career and College Readiness building: a large butterfly garden with blooming flowers, butterfly flags and a stacked rock wall ringing the creation.

Recently retired Compass Instructor Cheryl Patteson, who had a love for Monarch butterflies and incorporating lessons about them into the curriculum, conceived the project. It has since been taken over by new Compass Instructor Judith Ledford, who now has the project soaring to new heights.

“Before the space was transformed into a garden, it was a big pile of dirt and giant rocks,” she said. “I am amazed by their work because they took an unused area and made it into a beautiful space for everyone who visits campus.”

In addition to adding a peaceful, colorful natural area to campus, the project allows students in the Compass program to learn valuable life skills.

“Each day we have class, they have to look up the weather to see if we need to water,” Ledford said. “That gives them the opportunity to utilize technology for practical uses. Through the garden, the students have learned the value of hard work, responsibility and dependability – all of which are important values and life skills.”

This summer, the students raised Monarch butterflies in the classroom with a goal of setting them free in the garden before their eventual migration to Mexico. The project will continue again next year, so campus visitors, including butterflies, can enjoy it.butterfly garden 3

“The best part about participating in a project like this with my students is seeing the pride they have in the garden,” Ledford said. “They have worked so incredibly hard on this project, and their dedication to the plants and to the butterflies is what is truly beautiful.”

CCC&TI Compass classes are designed for adults who wish to improve their academic and independent living skills. The classes help students acquire basic skills to become more independent and self-directed and to meet and manage community, social, work and personal adult responsibilities. Classes, which are offered free of charge, are available in Caldwell and Watauga counties.

For more information on the College Compass Program, call (828) 726-2230 (Caldwell) or (828) 297-5253 (Watauga).

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