2016 News Releases

University dedicates butterfly garden for Bettye Myers

Photo from dedication of Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden

Jeff Robb shows butterflies to Professor Emerita Bettye Myers, left, and Chancellor Carine M. Feyten, right. Photo credit: Michael Modecki

The “butterfly effect” was in full bloom Thursday (Aug. 18), as the Texas Woman’s University campus, Board of Regents, Denton city and county officials and other community members gathered to dedicate TWU’s new butterfly garden in honor of Professor Emerita Bettye Meyers.

Board of Regents Vice Chair Anna Maria Farias, Professor Emerita Bettye Myers and TWU Board Chair Mary Pincoffs-Wilson attend the dedication of the Dr. Bettye Meyers Butterfly Garden. Photo credit: Michael Modecki

A passion for butterflies and Texas being the most important state for monarch butterflies led TWU History Professor Jeff Robb to the idea of partnering with fellow faculty in chemistry, biology and other departments to create a garden where students and the TWU and Denton communities can come together in planning, planting and monitoring to create a practical sustainability project.

The garden is named after Bettye Meyers, a Cornaro Professor of Kinesiology, who retired in August 2015 after 54 years of service to the university.

“The term ‘butterfly effect’ can apply both to the environment and influence of Bettye Myers, whose acts of kindness and services, both big and small, have had a ripple positive effect on the university, the Denton community and more,” said TWU Chancellor Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.

Phase one of the garden project, which will attract and sustain monarchs and many other butterflies, bees and birds, will be on the grounds of the Ann Stuart Science Complex. Phase two will be a large "showcase garden" west of the Texas Pond on campus near the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods.

According to Robb, The Dr. Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden at TWU will help restore monarch butterflies and other pollinators to promote sustainability and improve the environment to align with the university’s strategic initiatives and Chancellor Feyten’s call to action of “People, Profits and the Planet.”

Tickled pink, or perhaps “maroon,” by the honor, Myers said, “There’s nothing in a caterpillar that tells you you’re going to be a butterfly, so to have this garden named after me affirms my life’s calling to serve others and the community.”

The gardens will be an academic teaching tool that will use native plants to attract and support vital, yet dwindling, populations of insect pollinators; conserve water; and demonstrate how such projects can be developed effectively to respond to the prospects of a hotter and drier climate.

Monarchs are probably the most widely recognized of all butterflies, given their large size, bright orange color and famous fall migration that some of them make to Mexico, where they overwinter in colonies of up to 50 million individuals.

The numbers of this iconic species have declined by an estimated 90 percent as habitat has been lost through agricultural practices, urban expansion and cropland conversion. Populations of other insect pollinators, including other butterfly species, bees and beetles, also have declined significantly for the same reasons.

For more information, visit www.twu.edu/butterfly-garden/.

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