Butterfly garden installed near St. Mary’s Lake

Author: Dana Bakirtjy

Campus community members are now able to enjoy the bright flowers, sweet smells, and peaceful serenity of a butterfly garden while they take in the beauty of St. Mary’s lake. 

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During Reunion 2016, The Alumni Class of 1976 installed a butterfly garden on the corner of St. Mary’s Road and Holy Cross Drive as their class gift. Situated near the Grotto, the garden will help promote pollinators on campus and provide a welcome pop of color for visitors and campus community members alike.

In addition to butterflies, the garden will likely attract other pollinators like moths, flies, beetles, and honey bees. Due to factors like exposure to pathogens, parasites, and pesticides; habitat fragmentation and loss; and climate change, pollinator numbers have been decreasing over the past several decades. 

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Because butterflies are naturally attracted to brightly colored, fragrant flowers, Notre Dame’s garden features several colorful species including Purple Coneflowers, Tickseed ‘Moonbeam’, Sunshine Blue Bluebeard, and Blue Chip Butterfly Bushes.

The planting of native species allows Notre Dame to help counteract this growing problem. By planting native habitat for these organisms, the University supports local pollinators and helps to encourage the growth of native species across Notre Dame’s campus and Michiana.

In fact, Notre Dame is no stranger to native plantings. Extensive native plantings around Compton Family Ice Arena provide a micro-habitat on the south side of campus that encourages wildlife and pollination. The rain garden next to Stinson-Remick helps to control storm water run-off by providing a suitable environment for water to slowly percolate back into the ground; and the green roof on top of the Morris Inn provides insulation, absorbs rainwater, and helps to reduce the discharge of pollutants into St. Mary’s Lake. 

“We welcome the addition of the butterfly garden to campus and are very grateful to the class of 1976 for choosing to give back to the university in a way that promotes sustainability.” Said Linda Kurtos, Director of Sustainability. “The butterfly garden is a beautiful addition to Notre Dame’s campus and we look forward to seeing it develop in years to come.”