Rotary, Lions clubs volunteer at Harlingen butterfly garden

Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

HARLINGEN – Israel Villarreal had just finished removing the weeds around the plant with its delicate white blooms.

“I used a rake and a hoe for the first time over here for the dead weeds,” said Israel, 16, a member of the San Benito Leo Club.

Israel and about 30 other volunteers from the San Benito Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Harlingen, and the Lions Club of Harlingen had gathered Tuesday afternoon at the LeMoyne Living Laboratory, a butterfly garden project at the LeMoyne Gardens Unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harlingen.

They brought shovels, rakes, mulch and plants to renovate some parts of the garden, clear out weeds and grass, and plant flowers and even a tree to support local wildlife. Kids from the Boys and Girls Club worked alongside adults from the Rotary Club and the Lions Club and students from the Leo Club.

“We chose this project because Rotary International has several areas of focus,” said Juanita Stringfield, president of the Rotary Club of Harlingen.

“One of those areas is the environment and this falls under that category – the environment and the caring for things that are in danger,” she said. “This is a viable project.”

This was the first time the Rotary Club of Harlingen and the San Benito Lions Club came together for a collaborative project.

When she contacted Alex Ambriz, service project chair for the San Benito Lions Club, it was an immediate yes.

“This is the best project,” she told Stringfield. “We want to be part of it.”

She’s proud of the work everyone put in to the event.

“What we accomplished was we cleaned out several of the beds, weeded, replaced the protective layers, planted new plants and placed mulch,” Ambriz said. “This kind of urban habitat is very important in teaching our kids about our natural resources and supporting sustainable wildlife.”

This event and the butterfly garden in general highlights the mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harlingen, said executive director Gerald Gathright.

“It embodies what we want young children to learn about the world they live in, the environment they live in, and how they can protect it and nurture it,” he said.

The kids seemed to enjoy it, too.

“Right now I’m helping with pulling out weeds from the garden so the butterflies can have a better habitat,” said Briana Resendez, 17, a senior at San Benito High School and member of the Leo Club.

“It’s so fun,” she said. “I like getting my hands dirty and helping the community and stuff.”

The LeMoyne Living Laboratory is an ongoing project to engage kids in authentic learning experiences about life science. Stringfield the Rotary Club hopes to get funding to install a sprinkler system at the garden.