Butterflys and flowers will be added to MMC’s Nature Preserve to honor Earth Day


Fiorella Cantero/ Contributing Writer



In commemoration of Earth Day, the Office of University Sustainability will be hosting a butterfly garden planting and butterfly release event at the Nature Preserve located in the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.


Earth Day is an annual internationally celebrated event that takes place on April 22  of every year.


“Earth Day is a reminder for everyone to take care of our home, Earth,” said Alexandra Dutton, assistant director of the Office of University Sustainability and one of the coordinators of the event. “It is a reminder for everyone to think about it, although we should be thinking about it everyday of the year. Whether it’s conserving water, the garbage you throw away, to the amount of energy we use.”


A total of three events will be taking place throughout the day.


The day will begin with two volunteer events, in which volunteers will plant native plants on the Preserve.


The first one is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to noon, with the second event scheduled to take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The second event will involve butterfly garden restoration work on the Pine Rockland ecosystem.


The Pine Rockland territory, located primarily in the Everglades, is South Florida’s most floristically diverse plant community and includes several native species.


The native and exclusive eco-region to South Florida is currently an endangered ecosystem that the University is helping to sustain.


After all the specimens are planted at around 5:30 p.m., the butterfly and caterpillar release will commence.


“We’re doing this because we would be planting native butterfly plants to Florida’s ecosystems and reintroducing plants into their natural habitat, therefore butterflies are able to pollinate the plants later on,” Dutton said.


Multiple people will be overseeing the event, including Ryan Vogel, program coordinator for the Office of University Sustainability, Hernan Martinez, a Nature Preserve naturalist and Dutton, who will also be serving as a curator for the event.

“The event shows that the university cares about our environment, so that students are able to enjoy it as well as future generations,” Dutton said.


Dutton continued by drawing attention to the fact that environmental awareness is a topic of major importance today.


“Climate change and sustainability is a hot topic in today’s world and politics,” she said. “Next election we will hear more about it, talking about it and teaching others it’s an important part of sustainability.”


The Preserve itself relies a lot on volunteer work from students for maintenance, with around 10 to 15 volunteers serving the Preserve every semester.


The volunteer program includes a variety of activities, among them the hosting of tours, educational sessions on the Preserve, planting native plants and trail maintenance.


“We try to make it fun and different every time,” Dutton said when asked about the volunteer work.


Students shared their thoughts.


Samantha Gonzalez, a junior majoring in advertising, thinks that the event will be an interesting one.


“It’s important to preserve ecosystems, no matter how small [they are],” she said.


Others also expressed their thoughts.


“I think its a great event and more events like this should be held on campus to expand awareness on sustainability and the environment,” said Alexandra Aleman, a junior majoring in health service administration. “I look forward to attend the event.”


Students who are interested in volunteering for the event on Wednesday, April 22 or interested in volunteering in the Nature Preserve in general are encouraged to visit the Office of University Sustainability, located in MMC, near the north entrance of the Nature Preserve, across from the Rec Center.


Volunteer forms are available in the Rec Center.

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