Dr. E. L. Whigham Elementary School in Cutler Bay was the site of a special Earth Day and butterfly garden event conducted by the town’s Public Works Department on Wednesday, May 15.
The event was part of an annual tradition, done at different schools each time, to help educate students and raise awareness about environmental issues.
Town staff prepared and presented four interactive stations to students in pre-K through fifth grade where they learned about storm water runoff, the effects of pollution and the water cycle. The fourth station involved the planting of the new butterfly garden by the school’s entrance. Mayor Tim Meerbott joined town staff during the presentation and took part in the planting of the butterfly garden.
Adrian Delesdernier, an Education Specialist with the WAVE Destination Academy at Whigham Elementary, believes the town’s participation is important.
“I’m so appreciative that the Town of Cutler Bay is committed to teaching conservation and giving our students the opportunity for hands on experience,” Delesdernier said. “A day like today helps reinforce the lessons we teach in the classroom about conservation.”
Cutler Bay’s Public Works director Alfredo Quintero directed the presentation on storm water runoff at the first station and conducted a question and answer session afterward. Stormwater Utility manager Yenier Vega guided students through the topic of runoff pollution using a miniature urban watershed model. The students first sprinkled the miniature model with colored sprinkles — which represented pollutants — then used spray bottles to replicate the effect of rain. The process demonstrated within seconds how soils and pollutants could be carried by rain and ultimately reach the area’s water sources. It was an effective hands-on display used in earlier presentations.
The third station featured a video presentation demonstrating the water cycle. Students observed how water evaporates, condensates, precipitates, infiltrates, runs off, and collects into the major water systems of the earth.
The planting of the school’s butterfly garden took place during the fourth and final station. The town had purchased approximately 300 flowers and plants and donated them to the school. There were Dwarf Pentas, Ruellias, Ruby Red Pentas, Buddleias, and Lantanas. Students took part and helped transplant the potted plants to the new butterfly garden located near the school’s entrance. They then spread red mulch around the garden.
Mayor Meerbott was pleased with the event.
“It was very rewarding to see our future town leaders and residents learn ways to make our community and planet greener while actively participating in its beautification,” tge mayor said. “Town staff did a great job in providing an effective educational experience where students could truly understand the effects of pollution, while learning ways they can individually take to make our community greener.”