Through a $15,150 grant from the Federal Government, over the past 12 months the school community has been busy propagating approximately 1500 native butterfly-attracting plant species which are local to the Kaurna plains.
About 100 were recently planted in the school’s garden, with the remainder given free to families and neighbours who signed up to be part of the Bringing Back the Butterflies (BBB) project, an initiative of the Australian Association for Environmental Education (SA Chapter).
Deidre Knight, who runs Education for Sustainability projects at St Joseph’s, said the response from the community had been “fabulous”, with people eager to rectify the “big shortage” of butterflies which had resulted from the removal of vegetation over the years.
“Butterflies really touch the heart and there is something almost spiritual about them,” she said.
“The idea of the project is to re-establish the original flora to bring back this fauna, as well as bees and other pollinators.”
Ms Knight said it had taken a real community effort to propagate and then plant these diverse plants into gardens and on council verges in the local area to see the return of about 40 native butterfly species.
“We letterboxed the neighbourhood to let people know these plants were available. If I saw someone walking on a nearby street I would say to them, ‘this is for you, it’s free, come and be part of it’,” she said.
“It may take a couple of years before we see a real influx of butterflies but we’ve already seen some Saltbush Blues and Dainty Swallowtails in our school garden.”
Participating households have received BBB interpretive signage to place on their front fence which acknowledges they support the program, while creating a talking point to bring people together.
“BBB is Laudato Si’ in action – it’s about giving students the opportunity to really show what they can do and be proud of the important role they are playing to increase biodiversity and think sustainably,” Ms Knight said.
As part of their work on the project, students researched and produced interpretive signage which includes the name of the plant and the type of butterfly they attract.
The signs were funded through the State Government’s Green Adelaide program.Jump to next article