October 23, 2002 | By: Laura Skillman
LEXINGTON, Ky.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Department of Horticulture is providing resource material about butterfly gardens and Kentucky's native trees for kindergarten through 12th grade teachers via the Internet.

The project was about two years in the making and came about with the aid of a grant from the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

The material has been on the web site since December 2001 and is not limited to teachers.  Anyone who is interested in plants should find it useful, said Rick Durham, a UK consumer horticulture specialist. The resources are the work of Durham along with Robert Geneve, UK Horticulture professor; Christy Cassady, coordinator of the New Crop Opportunities Center; and Tom Shearin, computer programmer and systems analyst for the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture departments.

“It began as a way for us to provide more educational resources to teachers before they plan field trips to the UK arboretum,” Durham said.

Many people were not aware of the arboretum, located off Alumni Drive in Lexington, and of those that did, many were not aware of the educational projects they could do using the arboretum, he said.

Using the web-based materials, teachers can do some educational activities on

butterflies and trees and incorporate that into a visit to the arboretum for more hands-on learning. For teachers not close to Lexington, the materials can be used as a beginning for educational opportunities at their schools and in their communities.

The butterfly section includes scouting information, information and pictures on butterflies common in Kentucky and information on how to select plants and construct a butterfly garden. Additional resource materials also are listed.

The tree section profiles various trees native to Kentucky and includes a walk across Kentucky, information on leaf and fruit collection and a way to place a vote on which tree should be the state tree. The poll is unofficial but lets students pick what tree they prefer among six. Kentucky’s state tree has alternated between the tulip poplar and Kentucky Coffeetree in recent decades.

So far, the site has been visited 3,400 times.

The site is a continuing effort to move away from printed materials and more to web-based educational opportunities, Durham said.

“I think we’d like to expand it into other areas,” he said.

Nothing specific has been discussed but some possibilities would be fruits and vegetables and flowers.

The resource materials can be accessed on the Horticulture department’s Internet homepage at www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Horticulture.

Contact: 

Laura Skillman, 270-365-7541 ext. 278