Master Gardener volunteers from the University of Georgia Fayette County Extension Office are partnering with city and county leaders to create a Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Trail in Fayette County. Since 1990, the population of Monarch butterflies has drastically declined because of the destruction of milkweed plants, which the species uses for a food source as well as for breeding.
The Master Gardener volunteers were inspired by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who established a butterfly garden at her home in Plains to encourage pollinator conservation and promote awareness of the plight of the butterfly population. Last spring, the Extension Office gained access to a greenhouse, located at the old Fayette County High School, which is now used by Master Gardener Extension Volunteers for educational purposes. There, milkweed and other native plants are being grown from seed and then distributed for planting in public gardens.
This year, two butterfly gardens were created in Shamrock Park in Tyrone, one at the educational garden located behind the Extension Office at 140 Stonewall Avenue in Fayetteville, and another at Patriot Park on Redwine Road, near the Veterans Memorial. Master Gardener volunteers will soon meet with leaders in Peachtree City, Brooks, and Woolsey to decide on locations for additional butterfly gardens to be launched in 2017.
The butterfly gardens are maintained by Master Gardener Extension Volunteers. The goal of this program is to make Fayette the model county in Georgia by raising the plants needed for pollinators to thrive again. For more information about the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Trail or the Fayette County Master Gardener program, please call the Fayette County UGA Extension Office at 770-305-5412 or, go to: eealliance.org/pollinator-habitat-certification-program.