Gaithersburg High School Students with Special Needs Celebrate the Official Opening of Their Butterfly Sensory Garden

by Patrick Herron

Per the Rotary Club of Gaithersburg:
While the world hopes for an end to the Covid19 Pandemic, Rotary Internationala humanitarian service organization dedicated to world peace and understanding – works to make it a reality by providing a place for people to gather outdoors in nature while restoring habitat for the Monarch Butterfly.  The Rotary Club of Gaithersburg has provided funding and volunteer hours to assist dedicated teacher, Elizabeth Nardin and her students with a special native outdoor learning space for all to enjoy. Gaithersburg High School Students will Save Monarch Butterflies and improve mental health in their community.

The special needs students in the SCB (School Community Based) program have been working hard creating a garden that is a peaceful place for all students and staff to enjoy while connecting to nature. Students play an important role in maintaining the garden.  They have been learning critical life skills and job skills while integrating functional reading and math skills into this year-long project.

They will be able to see the plants come to life this Spring and watch the monarch butterflies, bees, and birds arrive. They will learn the importance of pollinators and begin to understand their life cycles.  

The beautiful female Monarch butterfly will lay over 100 eggs on milkweed plants.  Caterpillars (Larvae) emerge and eat milkweed leaves as their only source of food.  Eventually the caterpillars grow large enough to form a chrysalis and an adult monarch butterfly emerges from it.  Most of these Monarchs will join the fall migration to central Mexico and their great grandchildren will return in Spring to the U.S. and Canada. Their population has declined over 90% mostly due to pesticide use. More must be done to restore habitat for our pollinators and preserve beautiful and beneficial insects.

To learn more about the Monarch Sister Schools program, visit

To learn more about the Rotary Club of Gaithersburg, visit

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians who are members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries.  For more information, visit

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