Trion City Schools

Trion, Georgia 30753

Explain how your project will benefit butterflies and the community.

Our project will create a butterfly habitat and expanded, beautiful outdoor classroom in an unplanted location (TrionCit4.jpg) at the center of our school for student learning and community enjoyment during summer 2019. It will become the central feature of a developing garden area using recycled pallets (TrionCit1.jpg) and raised bed planters for planting seasonal fruits and vegetables and edible flowers. It will be flanked by a perennial herb garden (TrionCit3.jpg), “living wall” (designed and created by a student inspired by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens—TrionCit2.jpg), and greenhouse. Incorporating a koi/goldfish pond with water fountain and water plants, the pollinator garden will feature perennial flowers and shrubs—both nectar and host plants (with good pollen and foliage sources), including Georgia native plants, to attract a variety of butterflies. Shrubs to be included are: vitex, butterfly bush, pussy willow, weigela, spirea, and abelia. Climbing shrubs to be planted, to beautify existing HVAC units flanking one side of the area include: wisteria, honeysuckle, and passion flower. Flowering plants to be planted include: lily, violets, black-eye susans, coneflower, marigolds, zinnias, milkweed/butterfly weed, bee balm, sage, salvia, dianthus, columbine, and phlox. No pesticides or chemicals will be used that could potentially harm the butterflies, at any stage of their lifecycles. The entire project is the responsibility of a high school club called the Green Team (created in 2016), assisted by a middle school club called the Green Seeds (created in 2018). Planting soil will include compost sourced from community donors and created as part of the Green Team’s cafeteria scrap recycling project, commenced in January 2019. The butterfly habitat will be used by elementary/middle/high school students as part of life science study, on all related topics such as life-cycles, metamorphosis, cross-pollination and inherited traits. The entire garden will be maintained by students, facilitated by Georgia Master Gardener volunteers, UGA Extension, and community gardeners. Support and donations will be sought from community partners, including the Town of Trion maintenance department (donors of mulch, pea gravel, weed mat) and garden centers. Garden features will be hand made by school students: high school construction will build raised bed planters; elementary/middle school students will paint decorative rocks; middle/high school art students will make signs and decorative stepping stones; and high school art students will create a mosaic mural focal point completing the garden area. The intent is to create a sustainable garden that will provide a unique, beautiful demonstration/learning garden that will bring students together with their community and encourage environmental stewardship for years to come. Total project cost: $2,500, of which we seek $1,250 grant and matching funds to be raised $1,250 per below

Detail your project and fundraiser.

Our project fundraiser, already approved by Trion City Schools Board of Education, will take place April 27, 2019, and involve selling seeds, plants, pre-planted pots, hanging baskets/kokedama, original cookbook, hand-made soaps, scrubs and balms, and compost. The seeds to be sold include a variety of vegetables (including heirloom) and flowers donated from community partners, including a vegetarian café (that has a community garden for food and seed propagation), UGA extension and garden centers. Plants to be sold include plants propagated by the Green Team and grown and maintained in the school greenhouse over the winter and early spring. Ferns, strawberries, aloe, mint, purple heart, doctor plant, ivy, and kolanchoe and other succulent varieties are staples in the greenhouse. Ferns grown in the greenhouse will be purchased by Trion High School for decoration at prom and graduation. Other annual and perennial plant varieties will be purchased at a reduced cost from a wholesale nursery partner for creation of decorative pre-planted, colorful planters, including hanging baskets and kokedama balls—all made by the schools’ Green Team and Green Seed students under the direction of Georgia Master Gardener volunteers. Tied to the butterfly garden, plants that attract pollinators will be a theme for the planters. Shade and sun-loving plants will be included. Additionally, an original cookbook created by a high school Green Team member from recipes collected and taste-tested by the Green Team/Green Seeds students (incorporating fruits, vegetables, flowers grown in the pallet garden, herb garden and greenhouse), has been in production over the past year and will be finalized for sale this year. Further, using fresh and dried herbs growing in our perennial herb garden, Green Team/Green Seeds students will make handmade soaps, scrubs and balms, incorporating healthful essential oils, under the direction and guidance of a teacher/expert in the field. Finally, nutrient-rich compost for planting soil, made from the schools’ cafeteria scraps as part of a recycling project started in 2018 by Green Team students, will be sold as part of the fundraiser and on-going for garden sustainability.


I wanted to share work-in-progress and completed pictures of our beautiful Outdoor Classroom Butterfly Garden. As you will see, we were able to plant perennial/annual flowers and shrubs, including vitex, hydrangea, butterfly bush, pussy willow, crepe myrtle, sweetshrub, weigela, spirea, abelia, lily, bee balm, black eye susans, marigolds and zinnias. All are thriving, and hands down, the blooming butterfly bushes are some of the prettiest I’ve seen.

 Our school will be able to experience our garden as an outdoor classroom, commencing with the start of the upcoming school year. I’m excited to share that Trion City Schools also will be participating in The Great Georgia Pollinator Census on August 23 and 24, 2019. As part of this census, our students will become citizen scientists identifying, counting and reporting to the University of Georgia the pollinators, including butterflies such as Skippers, Gulf Fritillaries, Monarchs, Swallowtails and others, that visit our garden. 

We are thrilled to not only now have this beautiful area as part of our school but to also have created such a wonderful habitat for our very important pollinators. Thank you so much for your support with the mini-grant! We look forward to receiving the second half of the grant so that we can continue to grow our garden.