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      Widener Law Commonwealth News

      Law Students Build Butterfly Habitat

      Law students prepare butterfly habitat site.

      Law students from the ELPS worked together to plant native-species plants to attract pollinators and butterflies.

      The new butterfly habitat on Widener Law Commonwealth's campus is buzzing – with pollinators.

      Law students in the Environmental Law and Policy Society (ELPS) recently cleared a half-acre area of land near the law library to be used as a new butterfly habitat. The area was most recently used as a storm water retention area. Students from the law school, with the help of David Foster, a biology professor from Messiah College, and Professor John Dernbach, director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, made way for native species plants that would attract pollinators.

      Messiah College students supported the project at the law school by growing half of the plants needed in their Plant Propagation class this semester, including the Monardas (Bee Balm), Purple Coneflowers, Swamp Milkweed and Butterfly Milkweed.

      Commonwealth Pollinators"This project will fill a critical need in supplementing pollinator habitats for native pollinators and honey bees," Foster said. "The goal is to provide a season-long bloom of hardy plants that will spread through the basin after establishment."

      The idea began with third-year law student Dan Schramm, who wanted to create a butterfly garden in the area next to the library. The work was completed in two stages. The area was cleared in March and students finished planting in April.

      "This project is important to the law school because it provides an attractive and revitalized space. It also serves as a much needed food source for local pollinators," Schramm said. "My hope is that my fellow law students and I, who helped work on this project, have set an example for others to try this elsewhere."

      A bench, which will be the class gift from the graduating class, will be placed in the garden. The bench will be dedicated to the memory of Starla Williams, a long-time faculty member and administrator at the law school who passed away suddenly several years ago.

      "People who visit the school will be able to walk to the bench and enjoy the butterfly garden, "Dernbach said. "The wildflowers will benefit the environment because the will attract pollinators and butterflies, including monarch butterflies. The garden also shows Widener's commitment to sustainability and biodiversity."

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