The word “metamorphosis” has taken on a fresh, new meaning for Arbor Oaks at Crestview in Bryan. When construction damaged the vegetation in the community’s courtyard area, it was left bleak and uninspiring. That’s when imagination took wing, as residents proposed a transformation of the large, half-acre space into a sanctuary that would become an official Monarch Waystation, for Monarch butterflies during their annual migration.
“Our residents are truly amazing folks,” said Executive Director, Mike Adams. “When our courtyard space was damaged, two of our residents, Bill and Mary Jo Lay, had the idea to transform that space into a ‘healing garden,’ an idea which the Resident Association immediately got behind. That grew into the idea of also making the space a sanctuary for beautiful Monarch butterflies in transit. The result is a space that nurtures both butterflies and residents in a way that is very meaningful.”
Residents Bill and Mary Jo Lay became aware of a Monarch National Project developed at Kansas University and advised residents of a national endeavor to develop Monarch Waystations throughout the United States. Crestview residents reached out for assistance from Texas A&M students in the landscape architecture program, who provided design and development support. Together, Arbor Oaks residents and the students worked-by-side to create what has become a small miracle of living beauty and nurture in their midst- an Official Monarch Waystation.
The plants chosen for the garden help the Monarch butterflies reproduce and increase the overall Monarch population. Today, hundreds of chrysalis pods bring the flutter of activity that brightens the Crestview courtyard each year.
The beauty of the Crestview Courtyard continues to evolve, as the daughter of a now-deceased resident paid tribute to her father by making a donation to fully develop the Monarch Waystation. And she didn’t stop there. As an amateur photographer and artist that teaches at Texas Tech, she also came up with designs to develop large metal sculptures of the butterflies which will form the center of the garden. The prototypes are already in place at the community and are being fully developed now.
“This inspiring project, which began with residents seeking to create a garden area- and willing to pay for it on their own- became a project that has created a special connection between our residents and nature, and put their Waystation for Project Monarch on the map,” Adams said. The Monarch Waystation Program was established in 2005 by Monarch Watch and has registered over 6,000 Monarch Waystations in 46 states.
Written by Bill Pemberton