Environmental education is not information but action. To truly teach children about butterflies we must focus on the availability of the habitat in which they can metamorphose on their own. Allow your students to take effective action and make seed balls that feed hungry and thirsty butterflies among other wildlife. Your students will in turn feel a responsibility for the flowers that emerge and pride in their ability to attract beautiful butterflies. To find native wildflower seeds you can collect them in the autumn and winter, contact your state native plant society for a member donation or purchase bulk native wildflower seeds for your specific region.
- 1/4 cup clay
- 1/4 cup sand
- 3/4 cup soil
- 1 pinch native wildflower seeds
1. In a bowl, blend dry ingredients of clay, sand, soil and native wildflower seeds together. Next, slowly pour or spray enough water to allow the mixture to stick/bind together. If no access to clay is available you can try kitty litter (obviously unscented, and more importantly un-used!) or use a scoop from the baseball field.
2. Take a pinch of the finished mixture and roll (in the palm of your hand) into penny-sized or meatball size round balls. Size just depends on your preference or the dexterity of participants.
3. Allow seed balls to dry or go right ahead and broadcast or “seed bomb” seed balls onto empty lot, no mow areas, woodland edges, light gaps within forest or wherever is best for the seeds that you selected. This act is sometimes referred to as “Guerrilla Gardening” when you do not have the legal right to garden on the land.
Let the rain and sunshine germinate your seed balls.
Makes approximately 10-20 balls. Serves 3 to 4 Butterflies.
Tip: Sell seed ball bags for $3 each as a fundraiser for your schoolyard butterfly garden!
Remember: “Dirt is what we get under our fingernails, soil is what we garden with”.
David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula. He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife. You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com