Area in Boynton serves as education resource for residents
If you build it, they will come. In this case, it’s butterflies. The Tampa-based Housing Group, developers of the 456-unit Seabourn Cove, partnered with Boynton Beach and set aside1percent of their construction budget to fund public art in the city.
The culmination of these efforts is the Old Dixie Eco-Walk, a quarter-mile-long pathway on thewest side of Seabourn Cove along Dixie Highway.
The project reforested a coastal urban area with native and host larval plants designed to attract12 species of butterflies.
“I don’t think there’s anything like this project,” said PublicArt Administrator Debby Coles-Dobay, who is excited that she found atala butterfly pupa on the coontie plants. “This areawas just grass before, but with public-private partnerships, we’ve done a reforestation of the easement to attract and sustain butterflies.”
On a recent day, orange and yellowbutterflieswere fluttering in the air, mimicking the butterfly designs on the pavement, which were created by Palm Beach Gardens artist LucyKeshavarz.
“I’ve designed the butterfly stamps in the sidewalk randomly to intrigue passers-by and to appear to be floating along like real butterflies,” she said.
Keshavarz is president of the Art& CultureGroup, which specializes in integrative and ecological art.
She did extensive research on butterflies, native plants and Old Dixie Highway to make sure she struck just the right note.
She collaborated with scientists, including Mary Truglio, of Florida Fish andWildlife Conservation Commission, Alana Edwards, of Florida AtlanticUniversity’s Center for Environmental Studies, and Jaret Daniels, ofUniversity of Florida.
“Thewalk is designed to be educational and help people understand the reason it’s here,” Keshavarz said.
Educational plaques and interpretive panels are affixed to the cap rocks to identify the plant and butterfly species.
Tree canopies reduce carbon dioxide levels and the heat island effect, a phenomenon whereby cities are usually a fewdegrees warmer than the surrounding areas, and provide food, water and shelter for the butterflies.
Dave Bodker, ofDave Bodker LandscapeArchitecture Inc. in Delray Beach, created the landscaping with more than 61 varieties of Florida native plants, including wild coffee, quailberry, Florida golden aster, tickseed and wild allamanda.
Old Dixie Eco-Walk
A colorful butterfly rests along the Old Dixie Eco-Walk