South Georgia Tech’s Horticulture program adds pollinator garden in memory of Rosalynn Carter

Published 9:56 am Friday, December 1, 2023

Staff Reports

Rosalynn Carter established a butterfly garden at her home in Plains, Georgia to encourage the conservation of butterflies and their habitats. In April of 2013, the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail was established by Annette Wise with the Georgia Department of Education.

   Today, there is a network of more than 3000 pollinator-friendly public and private gardens in Georgia and around the country.  In honor of Rosalynn Carter and her Butterfly Trail legacy, the South Georgia Technical College Environmental Horticulture program students added an additional pollinator garden on the Americus campus.

   “The horticulture students wanted to do something to honor Mrs. Carter’s legacy.  We thought there is no better way for us to show our appreciation than to create a pollinator garden and provide additional habitat for butterflies common in our area,” said SGTC Environmental Horticulture Instructor Brandon Gross.

   SGTC Horticulture students John Owens and Jake Guest of Ellaville, Grace Hardage of Andersonville, Arial Hudson of Knoxville, GA, Lisa Wade of Americus and Kyle Davis of Montezuma utilized the skills they had been learning in class with Instructor Gross and put them into practice to construct a pollinator garden near their classroom.

   The new SGTC pollinator garden consists of:  vitez, butterfly bush, bronze fennel, snap dragons, pansies, Shasta daisies, yarrow, and rosemary.  Other plants will be added this spring. Even one single plant or tree that supports bees, butterflies, and other pollinators can make a big difference. More than one-third of the world’s crops or food supply and nearly three-fourths of all flowering plants are pollinated by insects such as butterflies, native bees and others.

   Rosalynn Carter’s Butterfly Trail helped create habitats for monarch butterflies and to educate the public on what butterflies need to survive and how to create butterfly friendly gardens.  Monarch butterflies contribute to the health of the planet by pollinating wildflowers and serving as a food source for many birds and small animals.  They had been threatened by drought, the removal of milkweed by gardeners and the use of pesticides.  Her trail has helped provided additional habitat for the butterflies and birds.

   The first garden on the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail is at the home of former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter.  Small container gardens and in ground gardens are located at businesses and historic areas around Plains.  The largest garden is at the Plains Visitors Centers.  Other gardens are now located at schools, private homes and public locations across the United States, Canada and Japan.

   In addition to the show of support from the Environmental Horticulture Students, the SGTC Welding Department had created the metal butterfly stakes for the trail in Plains when the project first began and many of them are still being utilized today.

   South Georgia Technical College is currently enrolling students for Spring Semester.  Classes begin January 11, 2024.  Students can apply on-line at www.southgatech.edu.  Registration day is planned for January 9.  SGTC offers over 200 associate degree, diploma, and technical certificate of credit programs of study.  On-campus housing is also available.