The Butterfly and Pollinator Gardens were originally planted as a butterfly garden by Bea Saito’s Grade 4/5 class for Earth Day 2002. Atkinson’s Americorps member, Ian Silvernail, spearheaded the project. Students worked with a volunteer from the Xerces Society to study which plants would best attract butterflies. Portland Parks and Recreation, whose Clinton Park land includes part of the garden, provided materials and park employees to help with installation.
In Spring 2008, Atkinson first and second grade classes studied insects and other pollinators and researched their habitat needs. Working with project lead and parent Meg Ruby, two Americorps members, and a volunteer from Xerces Society, students helped to design and install a new Pollinator Garden north of the butterfly garden. The original Butterfly garden was refurbished by removing exotic species and including more native plants. New habitat elements include basking rocks for butterflies, a puddle, woody debris for overwintering larvae and boxes for bats and bees.
Students and parents maintain the gardens.