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Bees & Butterfly Sanctuary to be added to Cape High

By Staff | Dec 14, 2018

A grant that was awarded to Cape Coral High School from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife-Society-Friends of the Refuge will help the environmental science class create a Bees & Butterfly Sanctuary on the campus

Cape Coral High School environmental science teacher Lori Shaw said five years ago they began Bella Verde Farms, a native, organic vegetable garden, which is surrounded by a sustainable fruit forest.

The Belle Verde Farms includes a small butterfly pathway with an inner circle of the fruit forest and then a smaller center of vegetables. The garden includes such items as collards, mustard greens, tomatoes, beats, turnups, swiss chard, spinach, lettuce and peppers. Shaw said they are building garden beds to attract people to the garden.

“We decided that we needed to expand the pollen area,” she said.

Following the red tide, Shaw said she and her students began investigating water, which stemmed the idea for the Bees & Butterfly Sanctuary, so individuals can utilize the pond at the front of the school.

Shaw and her students sat down together and had a conversation, which led the students to the idea of writing the grant and applying for the “Ding” school conservation education grant after taking a field trip to the refuge.

Shaw and her students were awarded a $2,862 grant from “Ding,” which will complete the three-phase project.

“It was really fun to write it. It should be beautiful,” she said.

The proposal included planting native trees, as well as a trail for the bees and butterflies to increase biodiversity around the outside of the pond. It also included building a small platform for the students to take water chemistry. A small platform would also be used for the Florida native cooter turtles.

“It would be a wildlife sanctuary that brings in our birds, bees and butterflies. The more native plants that you have in an area, the more you are going to bring in that biodiversity,” Shaw said.

The sanctuary should take about five months to complete.

The project will include signage, so when native plants, which are being used for the educational trail and outdoor classroom, are purchased they can be properly identified. Shaw said they will also post a sign that has the nine principals of sustainable agriculture and how an individual should approach a landscape design, so they do it in such a way that it is sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“It should give them a clear understanding of how they should plan for the garden and landscape,” Shaw said.

The trail, which will be built, will include a mulch floor and handrails on the outside of the pond, as well as the deck.

“”We want to make it an educational enrichment platform and make it safe for those wanting to use the pond,” Shaw said. “It’s so nice to have a deck where you can do water chemistry.”