Guardian St Clair a finalist in Landcare Awards for butterfly project
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Guardian St Clair a finalist in Landcare Awards for butterfly project

by Freya Lucas

July 28, 2022

Guardian Childcare and Education St Clair has been announced as a finalist in the Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award for its Bringing Back the Butterflies program. 


Designed and maintained by 200 children, the native butterfly garden has become a space where children can learn more about plants, butterflies and what they need to survive.


The Awards recognise Junior Landcare teams who implement landcare practices within their local community, early learning setting or school. Seven finalists were announced earlier this week, with Guardian St Clair being the only early childhood education and care (ECEC) service. 


“The idea of developing the land at the front of Guardian Childcare Centre into an outdoor classroom and butterfly garden grew from the children’s interest and knowledge gained in raising butterflies and planting butterfly attracting plants,” explained Guardian representative Lisa Weidenbach. 


The children were involved in all stages of the project – including researching local indigenous butterfly attracting plants and host plants for caterpillars as well as garden designs with quiet, interesting contemplation spaces.


Throughout the process the children developed a strong sense of belonging to the service and to the community, as well as taking on a sense of responsibility for the space, Ms Weidenbach continued. 


“Children learnt to interact with care, empathy and respect. Throughout the process of designing, creating and maintaining the butterfly garden children became in tune with their environment and proactive collaborators in their education and sustainable development.”


Educators at the service collaborated on Bringing Back Butterflies through the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) to share knowledge, source resources and help with planting.


“We attended AAEE Professional Development on Butterfly Gardening and trialled butterfly gardening experiences with 60 Preschool children over ten weeks” she continued. 


“We also partnered with a Volunteer Gardener from our local Council and our Guardian Community in the development of our Butterfly Garden.” 


For services who wish to establish their own butterfly garden, Ms  Weidenbach offers the advice below. 


“Be receptive. Listen beyond what we hear with our ears. When we are open to children’s questions, enthusiasm, comments, joyful or hesitant reactions, this will skilfully provide you with the next steps to take.


“Little miracles are constantly happening in Nature. Bringing in caterpillars and chrysalises from your local environment as provocations sparks wonder and creates a lot of interest in butterfly gardening.”


The winner of the Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award will be presented at the prestigious National Landcare Awards on 24 August 24 2022.


“The Award provides a wonderful forum to honour the hard work and dedication that the Junior Landcare teams bring to their projects,” says Loretta Arrastia, Community Programs Manager, Woolworths Supermarkets.


“We are proud to sponsor this category and couldn’t be more inspired by this new generation of environmental champions.”


For more information about the Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award, click here.


For more information about Junior Landcare, visit their website, here