The school’s Butterfly Garden was full of butterflies and ladybugs by the end of the event

SANTA MARGARITA — By the end of Santa Margarita Elementary School’s Butterfly Release Assembly on Wednesday, May 22, the Butterfly Garden and the lawn in front were not only filled with students and parents but also a beautiful array of butterflies and ladybugs. This is the second year that Garden Club Advisor Katherine Jonsson and her student officers have put on the Garden Club’s Butterfly Release Assembly, and it brought joy to the entire school campus.

Garden Club has 80 students in it this round. This year, Jonsson had 12 fifth-grade students acting as the club’s officer team. Each member of the team held a specific position within the team. 

“It’s really fun and entertaining. For the officers, you get to teach and show the younger kids what to do,” said Garden Club Reporter Aria Frietas.


“My favorite thing about the Garden Club is that I get to come here every Wednesday and Monday to just see all the amazing kids learning about gardening,” continued Garden Club Photographer Eleanor Hernandez.

“We’re basically the leaders of the Sprouts and Buds, and we help everybody and help everybody basically learn about nature,” added Garden Club Sentinel Michael Schultz.

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Santa Margarita Elementary School Garden Club Secretary Maddie Muhly is shown with a butterfly in the school’s Butterfly Release Assembly on May 22. Photo by Christianna Marks

Kids from every grade of the school are part of the club. They’re broken up into two groups. Sprouts are for the littles — kindergarten to second grade — and then third through fifth grade are called Buds. Part of the officer team’s job is to share their gardening knowledge with both groups. 

“Our club has worked hard to landscape our butterfly Garden for all our students to enjoy for years to come,” said this year’s Garden Club President Casey Lambert at the start of the assembly. 

This year, the Garden Club members painted “kindness rocks” for the garden pathway and designed a mural on their two-touch wall. 

“I liked when we painted the mural; that was really fun,” stated Art Ambassador Brady Spann.

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Santa Margarita Elementary School Garden Club Officers (from left) Keith Squires, Tati Cordova, Iris Peliter, Eleanor Hernandez, Delaney Roberts, Brady Spann, Parker Busick, Michael Schultz, and Aria Frietas release butterflies during the school assembly. Photo by Christianna Marks

They also added a fence around the garden and a bench inside, just to name a few things they’ve accomplished this year on top of planting a thriving garden.

“Our garden is filled with petunias, lavender, snapdragons, wisteria, poppies, geranium, pumpkins, butterfly bush, pansies, sunflowers, and many California wildflowers that we grew from seeds. I can’t wait for the butterflies to fly to our garden flowers,” added Delaney Roberts, the Garden Club’s vice president. 

At the assembly, the student officers also thanked the PTA, which funded the entire project and called them all forward to share their appreciation of having not only the garden but also the Garden Club. 

“You get to experience what it feels like to garden stuff and to be with my friends,” said Garden Club Sentinel Jackson Jeckell. “When we first started this garden, it was just nothing, and then we did this all as a team.” 

The students also thanked their families, teachers, community members, and nine wonderful donors. The officers also called attention to students who helped with all of the projects on campus this year. 

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Santa Margarita Elementary School Garden Club Art Ambassador and Sentinel Keith Squires is shown with a butterfly in the Butterfly Garden. Photo by Christianna Marks

“It was really fun to be a part of this club,” said Garden Club Reporter Iris Peliter. “I feel like we all had a really great experience here.” 

And, of course, they celebrated Mrs. Jonsson for all her hard work and gifted her a beautiful crown. In return, Jonsson gifted each of her 12 officers a copy of her favorite book, “The Hobbit.”

“Being a part of the club is really special. Mrs. Jonsson is an amazing teacher,” said Garden Club Secretary Maddie Muhly. “She’s like absolutely incredible. She really cares about plants and earth, which has made me more into planting and stuff like that.” 

“I had a lot of fun with Miss Katie Jo planting plants and delivering the butterflies,” added Garden Club Art Ambassador Keith Squires. “I got all excited because we were going to see them actually transform and then release them in the garden.” 

The main event of the assembly was, of course, when the butterflies were released into the garden. Putting butterflies in each classroom was Jonsson’s idea to be able to include every student in Garden Club, even if they aren’t official members. Because nature can be a finicky thing, not every class’s butterflies were ready to fly free, so in addition to their butterflies, ladybugs were also released into the garden.

“I love watching them fly. It’s really beautiful,” said Garden Club Art Ambassador Parker Busick of the butterflies.

“I even got to hold a butterfly,” stated Garden Club Art Ambassador Tatiana Cordova after the assembly was over.

Beautiful wings from both the butterflies and ladybugs filled the air around the garden, and it was a sight to see.

“It’s a really unique group. They’re so positive,” said Jonsson of her officers. “They work together so well, and they set such a great example for every other kid that we have on campus. They’re so welcoming, and that’s exactly what you hope that leaders are. They really stepped into those shoes and absolutely filled them.” 

All 12 members of the Garden Club officer team will head off to middle school next school year, but their contributions to the Santa Margarita Elementary campus will stay behind for future students to see.

Feature Image: Members of the Santa Margarita Elementary School Garden Club are shown: (Front row, from left) Brady Spann, Art Ambassador and Sentinel; Jackson Jeckell, Sentinel; Keith Squires, Art Ambassador and Sentinel; Micahel Schultz, Treasurer and Sentinel; Eleanor Hernandez, Photographer; Maddie Muhly, Secretary (holding the school’s unofficial mascot, Ms. Kitty). (Back row, from left): Iris Peltier, Reporter; Katherine Jonsson, Garden Club Advisor; Delaney Roberts, Vice President; Casey Lambert, President; Aria Frietas, Reporter; Parker Busick, Art Ambassador; Tati Cordova, Art Ambassador. Photo by Christianna Marks