SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — Judging by their energy level, it's safe to say a group of Pine Grove Area Middle School Students were happy to get their hands in the dirt.
"Usually with achieve, we're inside doing homework, so it's nice to get outside and do stuff," Ella Whalen, a seventh-grader, said.
The group with "Achieve," a federally funded program that offers after-school activities and support to kids, got busy installing a monarch butterfly waystation by the elementary school playground.
A project that's been a long time in the making but got delayed because of the pandemic.
"A monarch waystation is a garden that supports monarch butterflies and all sorts of other bees and butterflies and pollinators," Leah Zerbe, Potter's Farm Nature Educator, said. "Most of them are native plants that are in these gardens, and it provides nectar sources from early spring to late fall."
So by springtime, the work these students are putting in now will result in a garden that attracts butterflies and other insects.
It's a process the kids say they've had fun learning about.
"I'm just enjoying the fact that we're going to be able to be actually able to help the butterflies that we tagged earlier in the year," eighth-grader Perrin Moyer said.
"We've learned a lot about how invasive plants have messed up the ecosystem and how native plants are really good for our environment," eighth-grader Catherine Primeau said.
"They're really doing the work to understand why we're doing this garden," Zerbe added. "They really get it, so it's really fun to get them in the dirt to create a monarch waystation here at the school."
Butterflies should be all aboard this station in the spring.