Located on the southeast corner of the main campus is a peaceful, sitting area adorned with butterfly-shaped benches and a variety of special trees. It’s the new Nicklaus Children's Hospital butterfly garden. The project came to life when Alicia Becena, Safety Officer and Emergency Preparedness Leader, teamed up with Ralph Rodriguez, Manager of Facilities Aesthetics, and Avalon Gardens landscapers to create a special area for families and neighbors alike.
Mr. Rodriguez says the project began shortly after several trees in the southeast corner of the campus had to be replaced due to an infestation of white fly. The team reached out to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for guidance in creating a butterfly garden and instructions to ensure butterflies would thrive in the new environment. "They gave us guidance on what plants would work for a butterfly garden and offered to donate some of the necessary plants to Nicklaus Children's Hospital," says Ms. Becena. Avalon Gardens also generously donated plants that not only provide a habitat for the butterflies, but also give shade and nutrients for the butterflies.
Within weeks a brick walkway adorned the southeast corner of Nicklaus Children's Hospital and several butterfly-attracting plants were planted to create the desired ecosystem. Equally important is maintaining the garden’s plants. There are three types of plants that help the butterflies thrive: the attractors, the feeders and those in which butterflies lay their eggs. "It is not only beautiful, but also educational," says Ms. Becena. "Children are able to see the stages of how a butterfly is formed from cocoon to a full butterfly."
The butterfly garden is also an area for the Schenley Park community to enjoy. "This particular corner of the property is where you always see Schenley park residents riding bikes or jogging," said Mr. Rodriguez. Schenley Park resident Fernando Iglesias says the butterfly garden is a great idea. "It’s great for the kids and the families from the hospital and for the neighborhood. That’s the way to make the presence of the hospital relevant to Schenley Park," he said.
The team hopes to collaborate with the Nicklaus Children's Hospital Foundation to secure sponsorship in order to further enhance the garden and its surrounding area by providing a fountain that can serve as a water source for the butterflies and other outdoor decor.