“May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun, and find your shoulder to light on, to bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow and beyond.” This Irish blessing, painted on a new mural at Westwood Elementary School, reflects the soaring and industrious spirit of the Santa Clara based Girl Scout Troop 60326. During the summer, troop members gave Westwood Elementary School a green makeover by decorating a new rain water collection system, planting a butterfly garden, and painting an accompanying mural near the kindergarten classrooms.
“Planning this project took two years because we had to raise the funds to pay for all this – the soil, the plants, the water barrel, the water barrel stand, and the paint,” says Nichole Morgan, leader of Troop 60326. “During the school year, the girls worked during the weekends. The girls began planting in May, and they finished the butterfly garden and mural in June. Because there were power tools involved, the girls didn’t install the water barrel [for the rain water collection system], but they watched my husband, Josh, put it together.”
The kindergarten building’s roof collects rainwater, which goes down a pipe and into the water barrel. That water is then used to water plants in the environmentally-friendly butterfly garden. These plants include leafy milkweed, velvety lamb’s ear, earthy scented sage, and crimson hibiscus buds. Young visitors are thrilled to see butterflies, hummingbirds, and ladybugs making themselves at home here.
Kylie Morgan, a member of Troop 60326, is a sixth-grade student at Buchser Middle School and a former Westwood student.
“We all painted the rain barrel and we painted the wall behind it with butterflies,” Kylie says. “[While working on this project], we learned about plants, butterflies, and the area that we were planting in. I learned that butterflies land at this part of the school and the lamb’s ear plants like the shade.”
Kendall Tinianov, also a Westwood alumna from Troop 60326, is a seventh-grade student at Buchser Middle School. A number of the plants used in the butterfly garden came from her mother’s garden.
“I helped plant the butterfly bush,” says Tinianov. “We got it from my mom’s garden. It started as a stick with two leaves. We just dug a hole and planted it.”
Andrew Lucia, principal of Westwood Elementary School, is grateful for the Girl Scouts’ contributions to “making our world a better place.” Lucia is also enthusiastic to share about other green-friendly programs the school participates in.
“We’re doing a lot of projects on campus at Westwood that can funnel us into being a green-certified school someday,” he says. “For example, we recycle Capri Suns for TerraCycle. Last year, we recycled bottles and cans with NexCycle and proceeds from that went to our fifth-grade science fund. We brought in close to $1,500 from recycled cans and bottles and helped five students go to science camp.”