The Flying Flowers team has been very actively planning over the past several months.
During the summer, our member Lisa Ristuccia, who is on the Board of Directors of Arizona Association for Environmental Education (AAEE), was part of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) leadership summit in Pacific Grove, California. While there, Lisa visited with Robert Pacelli who is the biggest advocate for the Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary. She also met with members of the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia (EEAG), who run the Monarchs Across Georgia program and facilitate programs for Journey North.
Allyn Wright, one of the members of Flying Flowers, then flew to Georgia to meet with members of EEAG/Monarchs Across Georgia. They informed him that they would be in Arizona for the Monarch Joint Venture meeting. Joe Geare, another member of Flying Flowers, attended the Monarch Joint Venture meeting with them and then the EEAG/Monarchs Across Georgia members came to Fountain Hills to learn more about what Flying Flowers has been working on.
The Flying Flowers team has been working with National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the Mayor of Fountain Hills for the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge and the NWF Community Wildlife Habitat Certification. Mayor Ginny Dickey signed the Proclamation to designate every November as “Butterfly, Pollinator & Wildlife Month” in Fountain Hills, Arizona.
In November we hosted the Butterfly & Wildlife Festival where we educated the community about the need to help protect monarchs, bees, bats, other pollinators, and native wildlife. We handed out milkweed seed and encouraged people to plant milkweed and other plants for pollinators.
The town has given Flying Flowers permission to redesign the Butterfly Garden at Fountain Park, the famous park where many of the town large festivals are held. We have already planted some of the pollinator friendly plants there and have put up a No Pesticide sign. As part of the creation of the new Butterfly Garden, we are also involved with the design for the repainting of the large mural wall that is behind the Butterfly Garden. The mural wall is approximately 6 feet high and 300 feet long. Working with the mural art committee, it was decided that the new design should feature paintings of at least 30 of the butterflies that live or migrate through Arizona. The painting should be completed by mid-late March. For the protection of the plants and the logistics of the painting, we will wait until the mural wall is completed before planting the majority of the plants to attract the pollinators.
Flying Flowers presented information about Monarchs to the K-5th grade students at Fountain Hills Charter School and assisted the students in growing milkweed and wildflowers. The 3rd-5th grade students (whose teacher is Lisa Ristuccia who is part of the Flying Flowers team) continued their learning by going on a field trip to Butterfly Wonderland. The students also assisted during the Butterfly & Wildlife Festival. We will be creating a pollinator garden at Fountain Hills Charter School soon.
Link to Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/uVgvB5rgPcfdDLFw9
Flying Flowers Butterfly Garden is planting flowers in Fountain Hills AZ in the community park and the charter school where one of the members works. Our plan is to build beds in several areas and select plants that are tolerant of Arizona weather conditions. Most of our flowers will be planted towards the end of the summer as temperatures cool down.
We are specifically choosing plants that benefit Monarch butterflies but also Queens, Sulphur butterflies, Swallowtails and of course, the honeybees!