Carson High’s garden project continues growth

Carson High School biology students held a native plant sale and wildlife garden tour on Oct. 22 and sold or donated more than 125 native flowering plants. The event was held in conjunction with nonprofits Nevada Monarch Society and Nevada Bugs and Butterflies, CHS biology teacher and NMS director Julie Koop said.

Carson High School biology students held a native plant sale and wildlife garden tour on Oct. 22 and sold or donated more than 125 native flowering plants. The event was held in conjunction with nonprofits Nevada Monarch Society and Nevada Bugs and Butterflies, CHS biology teacher and NMS director Julie Koop said.


On Oct. 22, Carson High School biology students held a native plant sale and offered community members a first look at the school’s garden areas in partnership with local nonprofits Nevada Monarch Society and Nevada Bugs and Butterflies, according to biology teacher and NMS director Julie Koop.

The two nonprofits and students prepared preorders from their wildlife and pollinator gardens and sold or donated more than 125 local native flowering plants. They also gave out more than 50 goodie bags with showy and narrow leaf milkweed seeds, which are grown as a host plant for monarch butterflies.

Koop said CHS’ gardens now are about 5 years old, starting with an original and working toward three.

“We just made it happen,” she said. “We got a $5,000 grant from (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to make a native habitat (for the plants and butterflies). There are very non-native species left. They’re labeled by their scientific names. We do get a lot of wildlife here, including monarch butterflies, deer and birds.”

With all three gardens on the CHS site when finished, the space covers 5,000 square feet. Two years ago, before COVID-19, Koop said it wasn’t difficult caring for the land, but the pandemic changed all that. Principal Bob Chambers had to bring in special assistance to continue with the landscaping, she said.

“It was too much work for just the kids and I,” she said. “They look really good now. We’re doing the tours so that people can see what the plants are going to look like when they’re mature.”

She said it’s also beneficial to get the students outside the classroom and to learn the scientific process.

“Some kids aren’t even used to being outside for any length of time and with the weather,” Koop said. “That’s one of the purposes — to get kids to enjoy it. We’re lucky and enjoy the environment and appreciate it and all that. We’re still hitting next-generation science in biology. They do observations and formulate questions. In the spring, we will germinate seeds and grow plants.”

One of Koop's students, Oscar Duarte-Valencia, helped to provide tours at the event.

"I liked giving a tour of the garden and helping people choose a plant that would work for them," he said. "I like working in the garden because I love to work around plants, and I like learning about them."

The garden also is intended to help regenerate a habitat for the Western monarch butterflies that have experienced a decline in population since the 1980s due to pesticides, climate change and changes in migratory cycles. Koop said milkweed is a host plant to monarchs, which then lay their eggs and the caterpillars only eat the milkweed.

“We’ve had a huge rebound, but we’re still critically low,” she said. “And there’s no milkweed. There’s way too much insecticide. … But we can share some space with our native pollinators.”

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