Delhi schools, homes for the underprivileged, and shelter homes for the old will soon have butterfly gardens in their backyards. The project is being undertaken by the Centre for Environment Communication (CEC) in the Delhi-NCR region.
The proposed butterfly gardens, with host and nectar plants, will offer nature trail options for children, where they can learn about butterfly life cycles as part of their science syllabus.
“Besides schools, such gardens will also be set up at centres and homes for the underprivileged. We have already set up butterfly gardens at the Shriram Millennium School, Noida; Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre in Tughlakabad Institutional Area, and Prayas Home for the Boys in Said-Ul-Ajab,” Head, Technical Content and Knowledge Management, CEC, Vijaya Sharma said. These were sponsored by the CEC. Funds for setting up more such gardens — at a cost of Rs35,000 each — are being raised by CEC via crowdfunding.
“Children’s fascination with butterflies offers a great springboard to launch them into wonders of the nature. The garden will also help in habitat conservation and propagation of plant species,” she said.
The CEC is working alongside schools for setting up of the garden. “We are guiding schools through the entire process, including the upkeep of the space. Regular inputs are shared with the school on operation and maintenance, how to engage children in projects etc. The aim is to inculcate a love for nature among children, and make its conservation a natural reflex as basic as breathing and eating,” Sharma said.
Students will be assigned a science project on the life cycle of butterflies after they are exposed to the many local species.
“Children will have to document the species and collect observation data. They would also maintain a log book on the life cycle and plan a photo exhibition on the butterflies in their school. Butterflies also serve as a wonderful example of insect migration and the garden will help explain the concept to children,” said Sharma.
The space will also attract a host of other creatures such as lizards, spiders, praying mantis and birds, leading to a balanced and healthy ecosystem, which the children can witness first hand.
CEC aims to coordinate for 10 more such gardens in Delhi over the next one year. They are also planning an educational butterfly festival in schools.