Courtesy of Marina Devine
Throughout the years, Coral Gables Senior High’s students have proven that they can face issues in the world by coming together and working towards creating a better future. In early December, Gables Earth and The Garden Project — two clubs at Gables with the focus of promoting sustainability and environmental activism — joined together to demonstrate just how large of a change can be made when Cavaliers strive to achieve a common goal.
Collaborating to make the idea of a Butterfly Garden on campus a reality, the clubs hosted a drive to collect tools along with plants such as Salvia, Mulch, Ruellia and Fire Bush.
Co-founders of The Garden Project Lucia Chico and Marina Devine sought to create an environment and host events that would incentivise students to practice environmental awareness; the Butterfly garden however, has done much more. A peaceful space on campus where students can congregate, the garden has become a small haven giving students the opportunity to meditate, study and spend time with friends.
“Our main goal is to educate the youth of tomorrow by showing them the importance of being environmentally conscious and through actual practice,” junior Lucia Chico said.
A two-step process of implementing the new garden, Chico and Devine began with the design phase where both founders constructed the look of the garden. The second phase was the actual planting, where they taught volunteers the proper way to successfully garden.
While the Butterfly Garden has contributed to creating a tranquil atmosphere, it also serves as an on-campus pollinator patch. This means it attracts bees and butterflies which pollinate the plants, a practice which benefits both the garden and the insects.
On Dec. 3, the Garden Project officially began building the Butterfly Garden, as student volunteers from both clubs helped by using the materials and garden tools collected in the drive. Each volunteer was given a job which ranged from setting up the stone perimeter of the garden to pulling weeds around the surrounding area.
“I was there on the first day when we were still pulling out weeds and making sure the plot of land we were going to use was organized. After carrying bags of mulch over to the garden and helping build the first small pieces of what was to come, I felt beyond proud of what The Garden Project had helped come to life by the end,” junior Fabio Lerma said.
The Butterfly Garden is the second garden that the club has added since its debut with the construction of the Mental Health Garden, which holds a variety of teas and herbs.
To teaching students what comes beyond the basic planting and maintenance in a garden, the club has built composting circles within its gardens. Marked with wire, the circles surround some of the trees that have been planted and give Gables students an opportunity to help the cause without even being in the club, as they are allowed to throw in biodegradable scraps from their lunches such as apple cores and banana peels.
“It is our most ardent belief at the Garden Project that the future of such environmentalism lies within youth empowerment and education,” junior Marina Devine said.
Although the Garden Project has not been on campus very long, their commitment to making Gables a more eco-friendly environment has been affirmed since its initiation. Coming together with Gables Earth, Cavaliers are making strides towards fostering a greener tomorrow.