Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter honored through pollinator gardens funded by Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Farm Bureau

Annette Wise and Rosalynn Carter with RCBT children's book photo credit Chris Mitchell

Georgia Public Library Service logo

August 18, 2022

CONTACT:
Deborah Hakes, Georgia Public Library Service, dhakes@georgialibraries.org

ATLANTA…In honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s 95th birthday on Aug. 18, as well as her legacy of advocacy for protecting pollinating species, especially butterflies, the Georgia Public Library Service, and Georgia Farm Bureau partnered with the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail to plant and register 240 new pollinator friendly butterfly gardens at libraries and in communities statewide.

The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail is a program inspired by Mrs. Carter to help increase habitats for Monarch butterflies. The program is based in Plains, Georgia, and has expanded throughout the United States and internationally.

The gardens at libraries, Farm Bureau offices, schools, and in communities at large range from green spaces to raised beds to planters all full of milkweed, native perennials, marigolds, verbena, lantana, parsley, dill, and fennel, and all manner of plants that attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinator species.

One of the many goals of library and communal participation in the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail is to create an awareness of and interest in the importance and beauty of green spaces and pollinator gardens in communities.

“County Farm Bureaus across Georgia were excited to help celebrate Mrs. Carter’s 95th birthday by planting pollinator gardens, not only at their offices, but at schools and their local library,” said Lauren Goble, educational programs coordinator at the Georgia Farm Bureau. “Our local offices provided many items to create a garden, from seeds, plants, planters, raised beds, soil to mulch.”

Some county Farm Bureaus presented programs at local libraries to educate children about the importance of pollinators and how much we depend on them for fruits and vegetables we enjoy eating every day. The Elbert County Farm Bureau had four volunteers who helped create a pollinator spot at the Elbert County Library. A total of 26 Farm Bureau offices played a pivotal role in planting gardens.

Through grant funding from Georgia Public Library Service and the expertise and donations from the Farm Bureau, Master Gardeners, and library staff, 40 library systems planted pollinator gardens at over 50 libraries statewide in communities like Monroe, Woodstock, Winterville, Ringgold, Bainbridge, and Pooler.

“The Catoosa County Library’s Butterfly Trail garden sits on a sidewalk path just outside the library entrance,” said Sarah Holmes, director of the Catoosa County Library. “Once when I went out to maintain it, I overheard a comment from a family on their way into the library, ‘Look! A garden!’ This garden has already done what I believe is one of the library’s main goals, to inspire curiosity, joy, and wonder. I’m sure some butterflies have already found our garden and have been spotted by other patrons entering our library. I hope it brought a smile to their face and maybe inspired them to check out a book about pollinator gardens and butterflies to build their own.”

Another component of the grant and partnership is that all 408 public libraries in Georgia will receive a copy of a “A Journey to Plains Children’s Book” written by Annette Wise and available through the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail website. The book is tale of Mrs. Carter’s hometown so children statewide can learn more about butterflies.

The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail began in 2013 with a garden in Mrs. Carter’s garden in Plains. As a special birthday surprise, Mrs. Carter received a special photo book highlighting some of the public, private and school gardens registered. “Establishing additional habitats in gardens brings beauty and joy to people and much needed food and shelter to pollinators with each garden making a difference to a pollinator,” said Annette Wise, co-founder and president of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail organization.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths, birds and bats, and beetles and other insects.

To learn more about the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail and to register your own garden, please visit rosalynncarterbutterflytrail.org.

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About the Butterfly Trail

The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail is a 501c3 organization is dedicated to educating and informing the public on the importance of butterflies as pollinators, as well as increasing their habitats. The organization places and emphasis on Monarch butterflies and has assisted in establishing native milkweed habitats in hundreds of locations. rosalynncarterbutterflytrail.org

About the Georgia Farm Bureau

The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation is Georgia’s largest and strongest voluntary agricultural organization with nearly 265,000 member families. It is an independent, non-governmental organization. The membership is mainly composed of farm families in rural communities and of people who want Georgia to be agriculturally successful, progressive and prosperous. gfb.org

About Georgia Public Library Service

The Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) empowers libraries to improve the lives of all Georgians by encouraging reading, literacy and education through the continuing support and improvement of our public libraries. GPLS is a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. georgialibraries.org

A sign denoting a Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail gardenA pollinator garden at a library

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A sign for the Rosalynn Carter butterfly trailA pollinator garden at a library