When creating my EFP project, I wanted something that would impact the Greencastle community, not just DePauw. Through joining the Greencastle Sustainability Commission, important ideas arose from listening to the wants and needs of the community. The most meaningful issue that the commissioners brought up was the lack of a user-friendly native plant gardening guide and the Putnam County Library’s want to transform its landscaping into a butterfly-friendly ecosystem. My hope when creating this guide, was that it would be able to be distributed to members of the Greencastle community and utilized in gardening projects and awards throughout the future, reshaping the norm of garden plants and flowers. Also, being able to help sustain the Monarch butterfly population, along with attracting pollinators in general, was another goal.
There were times throughout the project where I felt like I wasn’t making as much of an impact as I had hoped. This is perhaps explained by the rushed timeline of the project. If I had started earlier, especially in the propagation and germination process, there would have been a higher growth rate of milkweed plants. This was stressful throughout the project because I was at the mercy of Mother Nature to allow my seeds to grow.
In completing this project, I realize that I utilized a very conservation-type approach for the butterfly garden part. Through this, I was more focused on assisting a wildlife population through enriching a micro-ecosystem. However, within the city government involvement and creation of the native plant gardening guide, I took on a more social justice role in environmentalism. Making native plant accessible and understandable to the public of Greencastle can ease the tension between environmentalism being seen as an elitist concern. Yet, this is not the case. Environmentalism is most needed in low-income areas and should be developed and made accessible to these populations as well. With the gardening guide as a free resource that benefits each farmer or gardener in Greencastle with the native species invigorating the native pollinators.