Pink Hill students think ahead to spring, butterflies thanks to NC Beautiful grant
Johan Mari Aviles, a second-grade teacher at Pink Hill Elementary School, receives her Window of Opportunity grant award Wednesday from NC Beautiful executive director Steve Vacendak. The grant will fund the creation by Pink Hill second graders of a butterfly garden.
Second graders at Pink Hill Elementary School are already thinking about spring and butterflies thanks to a Window of Opportunity grant awarded by NC Beautiful to teacher Johan Mari Aviles.
The grant, for a few cents shy of $700, will fund the creation by the school’s four second-grade classes of a butterfly garden, paying for flower seed, soil, tools and other supplies that will get the Fluttering Wings Sanctuary off the ground.
“The kids will be researching the type of flowers that attract the butterflies and bees, they’ll be doing research on what butterflies need to survive and how we can help them and planting flowers they can suck nectar from,” Aviles said.
The project pairs with the classes’ study this spring of life cycles. “We’ll do the life cycle of a butterfly. That’s part of our science unit,” she said.
The butterfly garden will be an addition to an array of grant-funded amenities at the school related to the student of the life sciences, including a greenhouse the second grades plan to use to get their flowers started for the butterfly garden.
The grant awarded Aviles on Wednesday was the latest in a series of Window of Opportunity grants won by Pink Hill teachers and was one of 30 given teachers statewide this year.
NC Beautiful offers the competitive grant to reward K-12 teachers for their innovation and creativity in promoting environmental stewardship with their students. The grants are capped at $1,000.
The presentation to Aviles was made in front of the 80 second graders by NC Beautiful executive director Steve Vecendak. “I’ve got a great job,” Vecandak, a former basketball standout at Duke University and a college coach, told the children. “I get paid to give away money. And it gets better. I get paid to give away other people’s money.”