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Wildflower sanctuary under construction

The construction area west of the Texas Pond soon will transform into a showcase garden, a beautiful campus landmark that also will provide a space for students and community members to observe, participate in and learn about sustainability.

Work on Phase II of the Dr. Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden slipped into high gear in July, with contractors starting work on a flagstone patio, concrete pathways and an outdoor classroom. Afterward, members of TWU’s Garden Advisory Committee and volunteers will prepare the soil, begin planting and place benches on the patio and a few other viewpoint locations.

“It is going to be a great garden,” said biology professor Camelia Maier, PhD, chair of the advisory committee. Maier and Tim Wentrcek (facilities management) oversee the infrastructure work being done by GroundScape Solutions of Fort Worth.

The garden also is home to the Carroll Abbott Wildflower Sanctuary, a tribute to the founder of the Native Plant Society of Texas, which got its start on TWU’s Denton campus. Maier said that, several years ago, an anonymous donor provided funds to initiate a wildlife sanctuary named in Abbott’s honor. The money went untouched until it was rediscovered last year and was used to begin the wildflower sanctuary.

Abbott’s history with Texas Woman’s dates back to 1978, when then-president Mary Evelyn Blagg Huey, PhD, called to request help with the university’s 1930 wildflower garden. Huey and Abbott successfully petitioned the State Historical Commission for a historical marker for the garden, and plans were made for a Wildflower Day on the Denton campus.

According to “Mr. Texas Bluebonnet: the Carroll Abbott Story,” the first Wildflower Day was held in the spring of 1980, and the idea to form the Native Plant Society of Texas developed from the event. The organization’s first meeting took place April 25, 1981, at TWU.

The university’s conservation legacy continues with the Dr. Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden, dedicated in August 2016 in honor of the Cornaro Professor of Kinesiology who retired in 2015 after 54 years of service to TWU. Dr. Myers passed away Feb. 18, 2019 at the age of 92.

The garden that bears her name is a native plant butterfly garden project designed to attract and sustain monarchs and many other butterflies, bees and birds. Phase I is located at the south end of the Ann Stuart Science Complex.

The gardens will be an academic teaching tool that will use native plants to attract and support vital yet dwindling populations of insect pollinators; conserve water; and demonstrate how such projects can be developed effectively to respond to the prospects of a hotter and drier climate.

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Story by Karen Garcia
Marketing & Communication
kgarcia@twu.edu