Sparta Girl Scout looks to brighten her community
Young women who set out to achieve a Girl Scouts Gold Award do so by wanting to make the world and their communities a little bit better. The honor of receiving the Gold Award is bestowed upon those who have.
Sparta High School senior Makayla Henthorne used her Gold Award project as an opportunity to make her community a bit more colorful by installing butterfly gardens at what is now Sparta Montessori.
In order to become a Gold Award Girl Scout, Henthorne had to identify an issue that she cared about and investigate it thoroughly. Then, she had to build a team to help support her efforts, create a plan, present the plan to her Girl Scout council for approval and take action to carry out her plan.
Over the summer, Henthorne, who has been with Girl Scouts Troop 4377 since second grade, decided she wanted to establish a butterfly garden somewhere in the Sparta community and her initial thought was to place it at the new Herrman Elementary School, but as it was still under construction, that wasn’t a possibility.
Henthorne began working with Kyla Manske, who worked at what was formerly known as Lawrence Lawson Elementary School. Manske knew the five existing flower beds had become overgrown and were in desperate need of repair.
“The beds needed a lot of attention,” Henthorne said, adding that her and her team of volunteers cleared out a lot of the weeds and unwanted plants and added butterfly-friendly plants.
Henthorne’s dad, who she says is an outdoorsman, inspired her to start her research into the best plants to incorporate into a butterfly garden.
Along with the help of her parents and Sparta Floral, Henthorne planted daylilies, black-eyed susans, cone flowers, irises, phlox, autumn joy sedum, red valerian and more. She is also working on handing out milkweed seeds into the school as monarch butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on milkweed.
“It was a lot of work and everytime I go over there people compliment me on how the flower beds look,” Henthorne said. “We hadn’t seen any butterfly increase yet this past summer, but hopefully next summer that will start to kick off.”
Henthorne added a sign to one of the flower beds to provide visitors to the garden with a general knowledge of the plants that should be used to attract butterflies.
As Henthorne prepares for graduation in the spring and college next fall, she is hoping to ask her Girl Scouts troop or possibly a local gardening club to maintain the new butterfly garden in the future.
“I was really impressed when we got it done. I didn’t realize how big of a project this was going to be until I was done with it,” Henthorne said. “I had to come up with so many different ideas and then implement them.
Henthorne has received her Gold Award and will be honored at a ceremony with the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland in the spring.