Wednesday, August 1, 2012
When 17-year-old Spencer Smith set out to plan his Eagle Scout project earlier this year, he knew he wanted to help the Chattanooga Public Library.
A regular patron of the system’s downtown branch, Smith said he spent a lot of time at the library this year working on research for his senior project and wanted to help make it a better place for others in the community.
“I decided to create an outdoor butterfly garden,” he said. “I’m a big reader and I know there’s a bunch of other people who like to read so I wanted to do something to encourage the reading process. I hope people take time to look at it and come out and sit on the benches and read.”
The area outside the library that once featured a tree and patch of dead grass along West 11th Street is now home to six butterfly houses, butterfly bushes and other plants to attract butterflies, two reading benches and stepping stones.
With donations from church members, Southeastern Salvage and his parents as well as discounted items from the Barn Nursery and Home Depot, Smith and his team of approximately 20 volunteers beautified the space during several days earlier this month.
“The biggest challenge was coming up with the design for the garden, and it was also challenging to get people to donate items,” said Smith.
According to library Public Relations Director Andria Davis, the area where Smith created the garden is especially difficult to maintain because it receives a lot of sun but doesn’t get much rain due to the building’s design.
In order to make sure the butterfly garden remains attractive, Smith said he worked with his dad to pick specific plants for the area and will mulch the remainder of the garden to prevent weeds from growing.
“We’re also planning on coming every Wednesday to water it,” he said. “We want to make sure our hard work doesn’t go to waste. The thing I’m most excited about is watching the plants and flowers grow over time.”
Davis said she and the rest of the library’s staff are very excited about the new garden, which will be one of the library’s first Wi-Fi hot spots once that program is up and running later this summer.