Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

County cleanup effort includes building butterfly garden

Volunteers in Peck Sink pick up debris Saturday as part of National Public Lands Day. About 30 Girl Scouts from four Spring Hill troops took part.


Volunteers in Peck Sink pick up debris Saturday as part of National Public Lands Day. About 30 Girl Scouts from four Spring Hill troops took part.

BROOKSVILLE — By 9:30 Saturday morning, 10-year-old Jasmine Nordberg figured she had earned a break. So she and several of her fellow Girl Scouts from Troop 581 in Spring Hill eased over to the shade, where coolers of cold water and Kool-Aid waited.

Wiping the sweat from her forehead, Jasmine surveyed Chinsegut Nature Center's newly planted butterfly garden and said, "We really did a lot of work today."

Indeed they had. What once was a pine bark pathway now sported freshly planted butterfly-friendly wildflowers surrounded by a thick layer of pine needle mulch. It didn't take long for the butterflies to find the spot.

The project, which got under way with the help of about 30 Girl Scouts from four Spring Hill troops and several adult volunteers, was part of a four-pronged effort to make some of Hernando County's natural places even nicer.

"It was a great community effort," Chinsegut volunteer coordinator Becky Brown said of the turnout that helped launch the county's first celebration of National Public Lands Day. "We're hopeful that it will gain the momentum to make it more successful in years to come."

The event, sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Hernando County government and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, also attracted volunteers to three other areas. About a dozen people spent the morning cleaning trash and debris from Peck Sink near Brooksville. Other groups turned up at Weekiwachee Preserve and the Weeki Wachee tract of the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area to help collect native plant seeds for upcoming restoration projects.

This year marked the 15th anniversary of National Public Lands Day, a collaborative initiative begun by the National Environmental Education Foundation to encourage federal, state and local governments to come up with ways the public can help in cleanup efforts, tree plantings and other activities to benefit natural areas. It is estimated that more than 110,000 people took part in 1,500 events nationwide Saturday.

Brown said that the involvement by the local government agencies seemed a natural fit.

"Much of the county's undeveloped land is maintained by these agencies and is supported by a number by volunteer environmental groups," she said. "People naturally want to help out because it makes the place they live that much better."

The building of the butterfly and hummingbird garden at Chinsegut Nature Center was a prime example of that, Brown said.

Located behind the welcome center, the new garden is both attractive and environmentally beneficial.

Jeff Hansen, a butterfly habitat specialist from the Florida Museum of Natural History who helped oversee the project Saturday, hopes that the garden will serve as a model for homeowners who might want to build their own.

Hansen said that only native Florida plants and shrubs that are known to be attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds were used. In addition, a specially designed low-volume watering system that traps and holds rainwater will provide the plants moisture without having to rely on outside water sources.

"I think people will be amazed at how beautiful these plants will be with such low maintenance," Hansen said.

Caroline Johnson, a 9-year-old volunteer from Girl Scout Troop 575 in Brooksville, was convinced, once she saw butterflies zooming in to inspect the new garden.

"Having butterflies around is nice," she said.

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

County cleanup effort includes building butterfly garden 09/28/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 29, 2008 6:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. BREAKING: Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic


    UPDATE: At 5 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  2. Editorial: Pinellas should join lawsuit challenging new state law


    The Florida Legislature has been on a cynical, constitutionally dubious quest to render local school boards powerless. The most direct assault is a new state law that strips school boards of much of their authority when it comes to the creation and funding of charter schools. It's time for the Pinellas County School …

  3. Editorial: Fix funding unfairness in Florida foster care system


    Many of the children in Florida's foster care system already have been failed by their parents. The last thing these kids need is to be failed by bureaucracy, too, and yet that's exactly what appears to be happening because of a needlessly rigid funding formula set up by the Florida Legislature. Child welfare agencies …

    The Legislature may have had good intentions when it came up with the funding plan, but it’s obvious that there is some unfairness built into it. The funding may be complicated, but the goal is simple: Making sure every child in need gets the help he or she needs.
  4. After Charlottesville, Judy Genshaft asks USF to "stand together with open minds and open hearts"


    TAMPA — In a welcome letter celebrating the start of a new academic year, University of South Florida System President Judy Genshaft took a moment to reflect on last weekend's violence in Charlottesville and asked students to unite with "open minds and open hearts."

    USF president Judy Genshaft posed with graduate Matt Jackson in 2015.
  5. Police: Man arrested in Largo had thousands of child pornography files


    LARGO — A 43-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after detectives found thousands of child pornography images and videos on his laptop.

    Tyrone Jeffrey Russell, 43, was arrested Wednesday on child pornography charges, according to Largo police. [Pinellas County Jail]