Girl Scouts Create Butterfly Garden in Yelm
Last month, Girl Scouts of America troop 46564 planned and planted a butterfly garden at Yelm City Park.
The garden is in a bioswale between the paved parking lot next to the Yelm Community Center and the police station across the street.
“I was approached by troop 46564, and they said they wanted to do some projects for their girls,” said Yelm Public Works Director Cody Colt in an interview with the Nisqually Valley News. “They wanted to help beautify the park somehow. We looked at some options and this bioswale was, in the past, really overgrown with weeds.”
Colt said the run-off area was a thorn in the side to city officials, so when the scouts stepped up to help, they knew just where to divert their attention. City staff ripped out the weeds to prepare for the girls’ project, and set them loose on the area.
“The girl scout troop came in and planted all these natural pollinator- and butterfly-habitats in there, really cleaned it up, put down sod and we put in an irrigation system for them.” Colt said.
By the end of the summer, he said the garden will be amazing, and a great view for the two walking paths that are already on site.
“The girl scout troop really had the initiative and the drive to do this, and we as a city just gave them the area to do it,” Colt said. “So it was really on them to knock it out.”
Amy Beasley, co-leader of the troop, said the girls — the oldest of whom are in fourth grade — researched what kinds of plants would attract pollinators, moved rocks, weeded, pulled vines, spread new soil, prepared that soil, planted the plants, put out weed-block and then spread mulch on the bioswale.
“I think they learned a lot about teamwork,” Beasley said, adding the scouts learned how to plant and do research as well. “This was their first big project and we had some girls that were really, really good at working with their hands and didn’t mind the kind of laborious (work), but a lot of them learned a lot about putting in hard work and how sometimes things sound easier than they actually are.”
And Colt said the garden is a boon for the park, which the city has been improving over the past few years.
“It brings another beautiful area to the park,” Colt said. “With the community garden, the butterfly garden, the splash pad, the park’s turning into kind of a whole experience.”
Those features combined with the upcoming veteran’s memorial and fitness center as well as stage pavilion improvements are going to really make the park continue to be a great place for people to visit, Colt said.
“This butterfly garden is one part of that (whole experience),” Colt said. “It’s one more thing you can go look at as you come to the community center.
“You can go to the farmer’s market, you walk over, see the butterflies out there — the natural pollinators — go to the community garden, pick some plants, eat some kale, walk around, see the veterans memorial, have your kids at the splash pad, go work out,” Colt said. “Like, you can spend a whole day there. … It was just huge in bringing the whole park together.”
Beasley said she is proud of everything the scouts were able to accomplish at such a young age, many of whom she has known since they were preschoolers.
“Like I said, this was their first really big project, so I’m really proud because as a group, we haven’t done anything like this, so I’m really proud of how hard they all worked,” she said. “There wasn’t any complaining. They all had fun. They all worked together. I kind of loved seeing them be a team and really put in the work. … They kind of blew away my expectations.”
By Daniel Warn / firstname.lastname@example.org