University of Montevallo Environmental Education Program
Ebenezer’s Explorers Summer 2020 Newsletter: Gardening
July 27, 2020
How does your garden grow?
Hi Friends!

The theme for the next couple of weeks is gardening! We explore the science behind composting and build a hotel for pollinators. We speak with an expert to learn interesting facts about plants. Visit the Aldridge Gardens website to plan a visit to their beautiful botanical park. Scroll down for some cool “extras,” and don’t forget to share your photos with us to be featured on our social media pages. Just email us at If you’re viewing this content from our webpage but haven’t registered to receive your free Activity Guide (and the bi-weekly email newsletter), visit to get signed up! And you can also access our previous newsletter content from the same page.

Happy Camping,
Your Friends at the University of Montevallo
Build your own Pollinator Hotel
Encourage pollination for your garden by building this “hotel.” This upcycling craft is great for your garden! Follow along with the video to see how we created ours.
Stack of books
Recommended Reading List
Our friends at Parnell Memorial Library in Montevallo, have put together a recommended reading list to go along with our “gardening” theme. Click here to download the list and make sure to visit to learn more about Parnell’s Summer Reading Program!
“Ask an Expert”
Are there really meat-eating plants? Why do plants grow leaves instead of just flowers? Check out our ask an expert interview below with Rip Weaver, the director of Aldridge Gardens for the answers to these questions and more interesting plant facts.
Creature Feature: Butterfly

Pictured here is what we believe to be a Three-Spotted Skipper butterfly drinking nectar from a Wild Leek flower in Ebenezer Swamp. You can see that the butterfly is using its proboscis to drink nectar inside the flower. Instead of having a mouth like we do, butterflies have a proboscis, which is a straw-like tube that they extend into flowers. When they aren't drinking water or nectar, their proboscis stays coiled up.

Nectar is like sugar-water that plants create to attract insects, like bees and butterflies. When the insects land on the flower to drink nectar, the pollen from the plant will attach to the legs and hair on the insect. When the insect visits the next flower, the pollen transfers to that plant. This exchange of pollen between flowers allows plants to grow seeds and fruit.

Butterflies undergo a metamorphosis as part of their life-cycle. A caterpillar is a baby butterfly, they usually build a cocoon to encase them as they grow wings and legs for their adult form. As an adult, butterflies typically only feed on nectar. There is not a lot of nutrients in nectar, so a butterfly's lifespan is usually only a few months long. Despite their short lifespan, they are a crucial part of the ecosystem!
Lesson 4: Composting 101
Dr. Caplow takes us to the garden to teach us how to start composting our waste! Learn about why composting is great and what you need to start a garden of your own. To learn more or to register for our free Summer Activity Guide, visit
Have you ordered your kit(s) yet?
We still have Explorer and Creator kits available for only $35 each (which includes free shipping). Visit us at to learn more and order yours today!
Explorer Kit
Creator Kit
COMING SOON: Animal Adaptations!
Our next e-newsletter is scheduled for Aug. 10 and will feature information about animal adaptations. Have questions for our next “Ask an Expert” segment? Email them to us at or submit them via our social media pages by July 31!
Special Thanks to Our Friends:
Parnell Memorial Library
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