HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The University of Georgia Towns County 4-H Extension has joined the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail initiative, and a variety of plants known to beckon the insects are in full-bloom outside of the Hiawassee office at 67 Lakeview Circle.
Agricultural-Natural Resource Extension Agent Jacob Williams explained that the garden is a first-year project, planted by local 4-H students. The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, namesaked after former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, was founded in 2013 in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Education in an effort to bring awareness to the dwindling monarch butterfly population.
The project provides habitats suitable for butterflies to feed, nest, and repopulate. Numerous citizens and organizations throughout Georgia have partnered with the Trail, with over 350 gardens springing forth worldwide. A 2016 monarch count revealed that the butterfly population has decreased by 68 percent over the past 22 years, and those involved in the project hope to see the population strengthen.
The local extension garden boasts flora such as Blackeyed Susan, Stokes Aster, Purple Coneflower, Rattlesnake Master, Passion Fruit Vine, and Butterfly Bush. A shallow basin rests among the blooms, offering a convenient water source for visiting butterflies.
For further information on the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, visit rosalynncarterbutterflytrail.org/