East Ridge’s new Butterfly Garden honors lifelong work of resident

A special tribute to resident Nancy Fehr’s tireless work was recently held at East Ridge in Cutler Bay when a new butterfly garden was officially opened.

Guests included community residents, members of the Coral Pines Garden Club, District XII of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, and Fairchild Garden volunteers.

The Coral Pines Garden Club came up with the idea for the butterfly garden and worked with East Ridge to make it a reality. While the purpose was to create habitat for endangered butterflies, they also wanted to pay tribute to Fehr’s efforts. The 92-year-old has lived in East Ridge since 2003 and is a member of the Garden Club and a lover of flowers and plants.

Fehr has been a member of the National Garden Club for 67 years, served as a Master Flower Show Judge, and is an active member of the East Ridge garden community. In 2017 she was instrumental in bringing Fairchild Garden’s Million Orchids Project to East Ridge, a project that is bringing millions of native orchids back to South Florida. She has been a volunteer at Fairchild for over 15 years, most recently as a volunteer at the Butterfly Conservatory.

Jean Hawa, Director of District XII of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, is amazed not only at what Fehr has done, but what she continues to do.

“Nancy is an inspiration. She has more energy than any of us, ”said Hawa.

Sandra Deery, president of the Coral Pines Garden Club said the goal of the garden is to create a habitat for endangered butterflies. She said because each butterfly lays its eggs on a specific plant, plants have been selected that could harbor one of several of Florida’s endangered butterfly species.

The garden was created with the help of Dr. Jaeson Clayborn, president of Miami Blue, the local chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, and professor at FIU and Miami Dade College. Together with his students, he worked with the club to choose the right plants and design the space. Fairchild Pine Rockland’s Connect to Protect conservation group helped create an irrigation plan for the garden plants.

One of the butterflies Deery wants to attract is the Shaus Swallowtail Butterfly, an endangered species found only in Biscayne National Park on Elliot Key and Adams Key, which is across the bay from East Ridge . According to Deery, the conservation of this butterfly is especially important as a random event like a hurricane can lead to extinction.

Fehr shares this concern and is passionate about protecting the environment.

“We have so many problems in the world today, but gardening is something we can do as we are stewards of this land,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to see the plants grow over time. Gardening is a service to the community and the world. “

After Fehr found out that a bank in the butterfly garden would have a special plaque with her name on it, she was overwhelmed by emotions.

“I can’t explain how honored I am,” she said with a few tears. “I am absolutely overwhelmed.”

When asked if she wanted to sit on the bench with her name on it, she said, “I’m not a sitter; I have never been. “

Other contributing community groups and companies included District XII of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, the National Garden Club, Trimscape, Casey’s Corner Nursery, and Galloway Farm Nursery.

East Ridge in Cutler Bay is the only true retirement community in Miami-Dade County.

The nonprofit community draws on the charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush, tropical setting of 76 acres located on SW 87 Ave. 19301 is located.

The community offers a continuum of care, including independent and assisted neighborhood homes, rest and skilled care, and rehabilitation services at the Three Palms Health Center. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 305-256-3564 or visit www.EastRidgeAtCutlerBay.com.

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