An internally-funded innovation grant provided by the Louisiana State University AgCenter was awarded to host an extension agent training that addressed establishing butterfly gardens and using these gardens in educational programming. Information provided included basic butterfly anatomy, butterfly feeding habits, and selection of both host and nectar plants. Three lessons, matched with state educational benchmarks, addressing butterfly plant propagation, butterfly life–cycles, and butterfly and other insect-feeding mechanisms were provided to agents for use with school-aged children. All materials needed to construct, plant, and maintain a 1.2 m by 2.4 m raised butterfly garden, along with supplies to conduct the lesson plans were provided. Agents participated in pre- and post-workshop surveys as well as a post-one-year project survey. Knowledge of butterfly biology increased by 35.3% by the end of the workshop, and an additional 0.6% by the end of the year. This training resulted in the initiation of 15 butterfly gardens at 13 schools, one camp, and two agricultural field day (Ag Day) settings in St. James Parish, LA. A total of 2088 children participated in this butterfly project. Agents reported that the training and supplies enabled them to immediately begin new programming on this topic and that participation in this program lessened anxiety regarding working with students in garden situations.
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