One Earth Hero Educates Others on the Plight of Pollinators
Butterflies are essential pollinators allowing plants to advance to fruition, berries to ripen, crops to sprout into harvest, and local flowers to cross-pollinate and thrive. Pollinators have been dwindling in numbers as well as their favorite native plants to feed on. Butterflies consume vital nectar for long migration flights. In Carey, Ohio, home of the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, a butterfly garden there is a planned waystation for migrating Monarch Butterflies. They make their long biannual pilgrimage Northward and Southward. Sacred Earth Ministry (SEM) members designed a butterfly garden composed of native Ohio plants to attract more pollinators like Monarch Butterflies.
Teresa Wonder and SEM members were able to purchase robust flowers from native plant sales to stock the garden. Some of the native plants in the butterfly garden are Milkweed, Stiff Goldenrod, Golden Alexander, Lance leaf Coreopsis, Dense Blazing Star, Foxglove, Beardtongue, Rattlesnake Master, Ohio Spiderwort, Virginia Mountain Mint, New England Aster, Brown-Eyed Susan, Black-Eyed Susan, and more. Projects like the butterfly garden “honor my parents in their life’s work and their devotion to their faith and active involvement in their community,” says Teresa Wonder. The Wonder family maintains the gardens annually, including her husband Jeffrey, son Slade, and other SEM volunteers.
Thanks to the organizing efforts of Teresa, our Earth Care Hero, community members and people of all ages can enjoy the butterfly gardens “as a place of solitude and beauty.” Neighbors often stop by to see what is blooming, and Teresa connects with them to shine a bright spot in their day. Teresa Wonder says, “Butterfly gardens are a great way to bring people closer to each other and closer to God.” Busloads of pilgrims who visit the Shrine will find in Teresa a friendly face of hospitality and welcome while gardening most summer evenings. The butterfly garden resides next door to Our Lady of Consolation K-8 school on the corner of Clay and Lake streets in Carey, OH. “We wanted the gardens to be available to students to have an (outdoor) teaching classroom.” Brian Hoepf, the owner of Best Home and Lawn, built the inclined stone steps into the butterfly garden from the sidewalk, allowing easy access. Local council #1925 of the Knights of Columbus provided the heavy lifting to construct a retaining wall. SEM received a recycling grant of over $2,000 from the Wyandot County Recycling Center. Granted monies went toward signage and benches made of recycled materials to use in the pollinator garden.
Teresa is committed to good stewardship of the earth because of what she learned growing up on the farm in the community of Frenchtown St. Nicholas. Nothing went to waste. Even today, she only wears durable clothing that will last instead of cheap clothes that wear out quicker than the fads that drive them. She admires the Franciscan ethos, originating with St. Francis of Assisi, who recommends empty closets with no spare coats. This way, no poor person is denied using stockpiled unused coats.
Teresa finds her investment in SEM to have been mutually rewarding and inspires her to venture out and get into nature. “I find experiences in nature calming because it is a natural resource accessible 24/7 to alleviate stress and anxiety in a world driven by chaos.” Teresa Wonder shares nature’s solitude and calming impacts with others and wants everyone to remember the importance of pollinators.