Insights > Tiny Town Taps Entergy to Bring in Butterflies
Tiny Town Taps Entergy to Bring in Butterflies
Entergy Arkansas vegetation management experts are believers in the butterfly effect. And they're looking forward to seeing the effect butterflies will have on visitors to the new Twin Grove, Arkansas, butterfly garden.
Twin Groves, population 335, is a town that almost didn't happen. State employee Albessie Thompson, who's retired now, took an interest in the community 24 years ago. She helped land a grant that paved the dirt road to the stone Works Progress Administration-built structure that today is a branch of the Faulkner County Library and centerpiece of the community. She helped incorporate the tiny town in 1991 and, though she lives in Little Rock, has been volunteering in Twin Groves ever since.
Two years ago, vegetation operations coordinator Robert Rowlette was overseeing the trimming of a circuit at Twin Groves, which is just off Highway 65 about halfway between Conway and Clinton. While there, he met Thompson, who, since 1991, had helped develop a community center, cultural center and the library. She thought a butterfly garden would be a nice addition to the property and asked if Entergy would be interested in sponsoring it.
Rowlette is more accustomed to removing vegetation than planting it, but he liked the idea and brought it up to his supervisor, Terri Harmon, who thought it would be a nice opportunity for employees to invest some volunteer time in a community that was so interested in bettering itself.
It took a while for that idea to turn from a dream into a plan, but on a 100-degree day July 9, five operations coordinators showed up early in Twin Groves to go to work tilling, digging, clearing, planting and mulching. In addition to Rowlette, the others were Chris Millay, John Everitt, Jared Rumfelt, Adam Zomant.
There had been a storm the night before, so the operations coordinators were on and off of their cell phones directing tree trimming crews elsewhere in the state as they turned the 20x20x10 or so triangular space in Twin Groves into a butterfly paradise. They tag-teamed the planting of a flowering plum tree and 45 different types of mostly native flowering plants that will attract butterflies, including coneflowers, a favorite of hummingbirds. The plants include several milkweeds, which are essential to the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Then the volunteers spread 75 cubic feet of cypress mulch.
Now it's up to Thompson and her fellow volunteers to maintain the garden, although Rowlette said he's got a load of fertilizer he plans on spreading within a couple of weeks.
"They've got a really nice area out there, and that was the one project needed to put the finishing touches on the facility," Rowlette said.
The operations coordinators volunteered their labor for the project, and Entergy Arkansas picked up the cost of the materials, about $500.
"We're so grateful," said Thompson. "The landscaping is just plain beautiful. We get so many compliments on the butterfly garden. We really thank Robert and his crew."
Rowlette said it was a good team-building exercise for him and his fellow operations coordinators, who are based in different locations around the state. "The best part of it for me," Rowlette said, "is knowing it meant a lot to the people you're doing it for."