Sumter County Middle School FFA Receives Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail Certification
Executive Director, Annette Wise, of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, Inc. was recently on hand to present certification credentials to the Sumter Middle School FFA program at their recently constructed pollinator garden. Accepting the certification was Mr. Brinson Brock, Agriculture Instructor and FFA Advisor for the Middle School Program recently started at the middle school level. The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail began in 2013 as a single garden at President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter’s private garden in Plains. Rosalynn Carter had read an article about the declining number of Monarch butterflies as well as many pollinators due to lack of habitat and chemicals used on plants. Mr. Brock’s program emphasizes the importance of pollinator protection through community awareness projects including the distribution and sales of locally produced pure raw honey as the FFA chapter’s primary fundraiser. As a young girl, Mrs. Carter remembered the beautiful Monarch butterflies that were attracted to her mother’s flower garden and the butterfly weed that grew on the edge of their yard in Plains. She wanted to do something to help pollinators and contacted her friend Annette Wise. Mrs. Carter asked her to help incorporate the right types of host and nectar plants in her garden that would provide food for butterflies as well as the caterpillars. Monarch butterflies need native milkweed for the caterpillars so butterfly weed, swamp milkweed and aquatic milkweed were some of the first plants added to an existing garden in front of their home. Once the right plants were included in the garden, it was like magic! Monarch butterflies as well as others common in our area were abundant in the garden. As people heard about Mrs. Carter’s pollinator garden, others wanted to have host and nectar plants to attract butterflies. The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail was formed with businesses, schools, and private and public gardens. The first gardens were in Plains and now gardens are scattered across the USA as well as some international locations. Information about the trail and registration is located wwwrosalynncarterbutterflytrail.org Mrs. Wise recently visited the Sumter Middle Program’s Greenhouse, and shared local host plants and picked up many plants the school has produced for use throughout the trail in the Plains and surrounding area. “The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail is delighted to add Sumter County Middle School’s FFA School’s pollinator garden to the trail! Educating our youth and having them connected to nature is a great way to make a difference in our world. We look forward to working with the FFA department and seeing more pollinators in our area!,” added Mrs. Wise. The Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Trail is a 501 (c)3 organization. Their mission includes establishing pollinator friendly habitat, educational outreach, and promoting a love for nature.