UT Student Garden Sprouts Native Plants, Butterflies (180)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new student garden at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville means more butterflies and more native plants on campus next summer, the project’s organizer said Tuesday.

Heather Rayburn, a graduate student in communications, said members of the campus environmental group Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville are planting a garden near the Student Health Service Building. It will have native East Tennessee wildflowers specifically chosen to attract butterflies.

More than 200 native North American plant species have disappeared since 1800, and about 5,000 are at risk of extinction, Rayburn said. The UT project seeks to protect native plants and raise awareness of environmental benefits of landscaping with them, she said.

“Not only does this garden help preserve plants that are unique to our region, but it also can reduce lawn maintenance and pollution from mowers,” Rayburn said. “We hope it will serve as a model for individuals and institutions looking for ways to improve the environment.”

The project is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Project, a national organization for organizing campus conservation projects, Rayburn said.

Contact: Heather Rayburn (423-573-5994)