By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Highland Elementary School fourth-graders got to see a science project come to fruition Monday as they released the butterflies they raised from larvae in the garden at Darden Rehabilitation Center.
Highland Principal Lori Lee Moss said it’s the first year the students have raised butterflies.
Science teachers Wanda Gilliland and Joyce Rucks got the larvae and students were careful to feed them fruit and sugar water until the butterflies were ready for release, she said.
Darden Rehabilitation Director Brent McCoy said he loved having the Highland students involved in a project that will only enhance the Darden Center’s butterfly garden.
Charlotte Luker said every client at Darden helped work on the garden in some way – clearing beds and planting flowers and greenery, working on the rock water feature and caring for the plants as they grow.
Luker said the plants in the garden were selected to keep butterflies coming back. The butterflies will lay their larvae and if all goes well, produce another generation of butterflies to add more beauty to Darden’s garden area.
Darden representatives talked to more than one school about growing butterflies for release in the garden.
Highland science teachers were anxious to embark on the project.
McCoy said the garden project and this partnership with Highland are what the Darden center is about, engaging Darden’s clients and joining forces with the community.
He gives Luker much of the credit for bringing the garden to life. “She had the vision,” McCoy said. “She’s the green thumb. She can do it all.”
McCoy said he hopes the butterfly release can become an annual event in the Darden garden.