What began as an observation by a local resident has turned into an environmentally friendly project at four parks in Lawrence Township.
The Lawrence Common Council approved $15,000 in funding for the project, and Lawrence Butterfly and Pollinator Gardens were seeded in November 2021. Gardens are located at Lee Road Park, Explorer Park, Veteran’s Memorial Park and Louis J. Jenn Memorial Park.
The gardens will take about two seasons to fully bloom, according to Liz Masur of the Lawrence Butterfly Project. She is also a retired Lawrence North English teacher.
“The first year, native plants sleep while they create deep roots,” Masur said. “Next year, they’ll be creeping. We’ll see some flowers. And then, in the third year, the flowers will leap.”
Masur said the idea came to her after noticing a lack of pollinators in the area.
“I noticed there just weren’t as many bees and butterflies that I remembered as a child,” she said. “After talking to friends, I found out that Indiana is in the monarch butterfly fly zone. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed, so I thought, hey, we can plant milkweed here in Lawrence Township and help out the monarch butterflies.”
The project began with local volunteers tilling large patches of grass in each designated park to plant more flowers to attract pollinators. The seeded plants include native flowers, grasses and lots of milkweed. Collectively, the project occupies 5 acres of Lawrence parks.
“It’s just another initiative by the city to make us more environmentally safe and friendly,” said Jeff Vest, president of the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority.