Wake Tech Comm. College

Summary Report

Grant Information

Association for Butterflies

Monarch Meadow Grant Application

Wake Technical Community College

Project Team: Maria Fadri, Gail Tompkins, Kim Fishback, Mary Christie


Implementation and Installation

Using funds from the Association for Butterflies, faculty and students tilled and planted the Monarch Meadow during the Fall 2018 semester. Faculty and student volunteers were solicited for three Office of Volunteering and Leadership events: soil solarization, tilling, and seed sowing. During these events, nearly a dozen faculty and students attended and helped to install the Monarch Meadow on our Northern Wake campus. Following the Monarch Meadow installation, Instructor Mary Christie and her students have begun to characterize the diversity of insects, including butterflies that inhabit and use the meadow. This research will continue in the Spring 2019 as changes in insect biodiversity due to restoration of pollinator species in the meadow is assessed. In addition, soil bacterial community diversity is being assessed in Dr. Maria Fadri’s Bio111 Bioinformatics boot camp for her seated curriculum classes this Spring. Taken together, the installed Monarch Meadow is already providing benefits to our campus by serving as a service and volunteer opportunity for our students, by being the site for undergraduate student research projects, and by providing microbial resources for curriculum classes in Introductory Biology.

Pictures of the Monarch Meadow Installation

Pictures of the Monarch Meadow, Pollinator Gardens, and student research (Mary Christie Lab) in the meadow

Pictures of the Monarch Meadow Installation Research

Insect Biodiversity

Shown in pictures embedded in the link above, students in the lab of Instructor Mary Christie conducted research in the Monarch Meadow to determine whether planting native pollinating plants increases the biodiversity of the community of insects on our campus. Her team of nearly seven students work together with her to catch, identify, and classify the insects that now use the habitat created by the Monarch Meadow project.

Soil Microbe Biodiversity

In the Fadri lab, Professor Maria Fadri and her students use the pollinator gardens as a sampling site to characterize the community of microbes that live in the soil on our campus. Using genomic DNA isolation and High Throughput Next Generation Sequencing, a bioinformatics lab module was developed and piloted this Spring 2019. This module will be proposed as an addition to the Biology Non-Majors Curriculum lab, affecting nearly 200 students a semester.

Plant growth and soil conditions for pollinators

With her students, Professor Gail Tompkins studies the soil conditions needed to grow pollinator plants and also how best to care for butterflies for conservation. During the last year, Ms. Tompkins has maintained the installed pollinator garden, rescued the Monarch Butterfly caterpillars that have used the planted milkweed as a nursery, raised nearly 4 dozen butterflies from caterpillar to butterfly, and overseen the release of these butterflies back into the wild.


Monarch Meadow T-shirt designs (right) were selected by campus wide contest. During the Spring 2019 semester, 32 T-shirts were sold at $15/shirt ($9/shirt cost), generating $154 in profit. In addition, 18 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts were sold this semester, generating $197 in profit. In total, $351 (of the projected $388) were raised in profit by the Biology Club to fund our Monarch Meadow and pollinator garden.

Planted Species

Mardi Gras’ Helenium (Sneezeweed)

‘Goblin’ Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

‘Goldsturm’ Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

‘May Night’ Meadow Sage (Salvia)

‘Walker’s Low’ Nepeta (Catmint)

‘Soulmate’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

‘Purple Dome’ New England Aster

‘Gallery Red’ Lupine (Lupinus)

‘PowWow® Wild Berry’ Echinacea (Coneflower)

‘Floristan Violet’ Blazing Star (Liatris)

‘Jacob Cline’ Bee Balm (Monarda)

Siberian Wallflower, Cheiranthus allioni

Cosmos Sensation Mix, Cosmos bipinnatus

Lance Leaf Coreopsis, Coreposis lanceolata

California Poppy Orange, Eschscholzia californica

Lemon Queen Sunflower, Helianthus annuus

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea

Baby Blue Eyes, Nemophila menziesii

Evening Primrose, Oenothera lamarckiana

Perennial Lupine, Lupinus perennis

Red Corn Poppy, Papaver rhoeas

Purple Phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia

New England Aster, Aster novae angliae

Perennial Gaillardia, Gaillardia aristata

Gayfeather/Blazing Star, Liatris spicata

Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima

Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa

Yellow Prairie Coneflower, Ratibida columnifera

Crimson Clover, Trifolium incarnatum