Recently, an Apollo Garden was built in an Austrian secondary school. European Wilderness Society, one of the project partners, organised this activity and contributed to the construction itself. The school pupils were also very excited to join and help with the physical field work. Apollo gardens are part of our LIFE Apollo2020 project. They are special gardens containing food plants especially for the caterpillars, but also for the butterflies.
Another garden was built recently by the lead partner KPN in Poland, in coordination with the project partner KP. In combination with that, KPN and KP also organised a lecture at the Nature Educational Centre to which local communities were invited. Some locals also stayed on for helping with the construction of the Apollo Garden and planting butterfly food plants. Some fun activities were also organised, like painting rocks and making seed cards. For that and for the Apollo Garden, a special mix of flowers was created by KPN and KP. In the course of the project, there will be built many more Apollo Gardens.
What is an Apollo Garden?
Apollo Gardens are an important element of the LIFE Apollo2020 project. They are specially created garden plots with food plants for the Parnassius apollo butterfly and caterpillar. Some of them will be built at schools but others are also going to be installed at other public spaces like national parks. In order to support the survival and recreation of Parnassius apollo, the gardens are built in suitable butterfly habitats or in the vicinity thereof.
The most important plant for the apollo caterpillar is the sedum, which is of course also planted in the Apollo Garden. Sedum plants enjoy a rocky environment, so after planting them, we also added some rocks.
With the help of the active students, the Apollo Garden was quickly built – even in the scorching sun. We were quite satisfied with the work, and so were the students and the teacher as well as our external butterfly expert.
In addition, to provide food for the butterflies we sowed some seeds for future Parnassius apollo (and other butterflies) to feed on.
Besides the Apollo Gardens, we also conducted some school workshops in Austria; the workshops focused on butterflies, including the Parnassius apollo. The students were very interested in learning about the important pollinators from our butterfly expert. They learned about the fascinating life cycle of the Parnassius apollo and how it transforms itself from egg to caterpillar to pupa to finally become the beautiful butterfly it is. Moreover, they discovered in which habitats and environments the apollo likes to live. To also create butterfly gardens at their homes, the students learned about the plants they should keep to make it more butterfly-friendly.