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If You Build It . . .

The Butterflies Will Come--That's the Hope of One Scout Who Planted the City's New Garden

March 14, 2000|ANDRE BRISCOE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

This spring, Darrell Essex Park will be filled with butterflies.

At least that's what 15-year-old Geoff Martin and the Women's Club of Cypress are hoping.

For the last year, the club has been trying to get residents and businesses involved in planting butterfly gardens. Last month, Geoff got the ball rolling.

With the help of 23 volunteers from his Boy Scout troop, Geoff organized the construction of the city's first butterfly garden to earn his Eagle Scout rank.

The group collectively volunteered more than 131 hours toward the project and, with donations from Home Depot and Lakewood Nursery, Geoff oversaw the project--a 50-square-foot butterfly garden.

"It was a great leadership challenge for me," Geoff said. "We put in a lot of hours and the donations we got helped a lot."

Women's Club officials hope many more butterfly gardens will be planted in Cypress's 28 parks to lure wildlife back to the area.

According to officials for the Women's Club, much of the indigenous wildlife in Orange County lost its food source and habitat by 1960 because of "misguided use of pesticides" in the area.

Since last year, the Women's Club has urged cities, schools, churches and residents in the county to plant the gardens, which they believe are the first step to luring wildlife back to the area.

"There are many animals that have been driven away from the area due to pesticide use in Orange County," said Community Improvement Chairwoman Irene Hornby. "If you bring back the butterflies, you'll bring back the birds, lizards and frogs."

But Hornby said much more needs to be done. "You can't get this done overnight, she said. "The garden planting at Darrell Essex Park is just a start. Hopefully, others will follow."

To start the project, Geoff needed approval from Recreation and Park District officials.

Marvin DeCarlo, district director, said future butterfly gardens must be in low-traffic areas, just as the one in Darrell Essex Park.

"We would look at garden proposals on an individual basis," DeCarlo said. "They should be located in passive areas; no volleyball courts or tennis courts should be in the area."

Andre Briscoe can be reached at (714) 966-5848.

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