Does Sewanee need more Passionflowers? You bet! Tennessee’s state wildflower and other native herbaceous plants are the focus of a new project designed by sophomore Sabol Rodgers. Sabol has elected to use her Canale Leadership and Service Internship to design and implement a wildflower project, with a focus on the environment and spirituality. She intends to involve theme houses (such as the Community Engagement House where she resides) and campus organizations in raising money to plant native perennial wildflowers at locations around town where community members gather.
These plants will brighten the places where we get together and will also support the native plants and all of the little critters that depend on them. For example, Passionflower leaves (Passiflora spp.) are a food source for many butterfly larvae, and actually the sole food of gulf fritillary caterpillars. Sabol is also considering planting milkweeds, including butterflyweed, which are important food and nectar sources for monarch butterflies.
This community-building project in Sewanee is unusual for the Canale Endowment, which most often funds student outreach projects in surrounding communities. As a native plant and wildflower enthusiast, I look forward to watching Sabol’s plans evolve and hope we can find ways that the herbarium can support her exciting and worthwhile venture.