Parkland CDC adds butterfly garden

Jacob Kenter

Staff Writer

Children at Parkland’s Child Development Center got a chance to play in the dirt, all in the name of education.

The Parkland College Child Development Center built a butterfly garden after applying for and receiving the funding for the Schoolyard Habitat Grant.

This grant was awarded to Parkland by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and was provided by the Jadel Youth foundation, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation, and the Illinois Fish and Wildlife Services.

Debra Valentine, a preschool teacher at the CDC, said the most important requirement was the children were involved with the project.

“The biggest stipulation was that the kids had to be involved from day one,” Valentine said.

Students ranging from ages 2-5 year old helped by removing plants that were not native to Illinois. They also dug 147 holes.

Valentine said the children continue to monitor the garden making sure that is stays trash free as well as doing the necessary watering of the plants.

She said that it is easy to tell that the children are proud of their hard work.

The garden is currently being used as a tool to help with the curriculum and is a good step in helping the children learn about Illinois native plants and the life cycle of butterflies

“I took out a group of kids out with a ruler, a long string and a stack of Legos and practiced alternative forms of measuring.” Valentine said. Another class drew the plants and then gave a dictation about their drawing.

Parkland College was one of 32 Illinois schools that received a grant from the fall 2014 application.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources gave at a total of $26,549, according to their website. Parkland received $403.

The grant almost covered the entire cost of the project, but the Child Development Center had raised some money to help pay for the rest of the expenses.