Earth Week-NRG Garden Day, April 18th, 2018

Another successful garden revitalization day for the NRG Garden Group. We appreciate everyone that has come to volunteer their time to replenish boxes that need soil, adding new vegetation and trimmed plants that survived the winter.

Special thanks to Clarissa Davila and her crew from Harmony Public Schools that graciously volunteered to lend a hand. Andy Kim and the ACC Energy & Sustainability Department for offering reusable bags and garden tools as giveaways. George Griffith and the ACC Grounds and Facilities for soil, plants and all the things you help us with not just today but all year round.

We appreciate Professional Photography student, Jennifer Fauteck for these great photos, and of course, the NRG Garden Group for ensuring that our campus green areas remain lush, healthy and educational.

2018 Earth Day Photos


Texas Native Plant Sale- April 14th, 9am-5pm

Lady Bird Wildflower Center
Mark your calendar-time to shop native.

Did you know our NRG Monarch Waystation is a PokéStop?

What is a Pokéstop you ask? It’s from the game Pokémon Go where you use your phone to explore real-world locations and get points for finding Pokéstops. 

National Wildlife Federation Paid Internship Spring 2018

NWF is requesting your assistance in sharing the Education Outreach Internship with students at ACC. Please share it widely and note that students do need to at least be in their second year of college to apply. This could be a great opportunity for our students:  Link 

Austin Area School Garden Collaborative

January 31, 2018 – Our NRG Garden Group has been included in the Austin Area School Garden Collaborative.  The link below explains the project. 


Interstate I-35: Monarch Butterfly Highway

June 23, 2017  –  Interesting article about the migration through Texas along I-35 to Minnesota.


National Geographic Monarch Waystation Video


Monarch Migration Calendar

NRG Earth Day and Garden Planting Day 2017

Once again volunteers came out to support Earth Week – Northridge Campus Garden Day. This included faculty, students and various departments. Additional volunteers included Entercom ATX local radio host, Heather Rivera from Mix 94.7. Heather arrived with 10 of her co-workers to volunteer in our NRG garden and campus beautification day. They assisted in pull weeds, spread new soil and added monarch butterfly and wildlife friendly plants.  Entercom ATX includes Mix 94.7, Majic 95.5, 95.9 RnB & Talk 1370 and

We witnessed a half dozen monarch caterpillars convert into chrysalis during our garden day. A wonderful earth week gift.
Special thanks to our key gardeners, Deanna Whaley, Melissa Bucuk, Eva Busch, Zhna Sharp and Cara Harpole for all the hard work they put in throughout the year. Grounds Department George Griffith and Vince Branch.
Campus Manager, Bel Smith. Heather Rivera from Mix 94.7 and 10 of her co-workers. Alyssa Halle-Schramm from the Office of Sustainability and Jennifer Klanika, a graduate from the ACC Department of Professional Photography program for taking photos of the event.

Please check NRG Photos page for images.

Mix 94.7 Twitter Feed  ACC NRG Earth Day – Link

Monarch ranks in Mexico fall       27%,reversing recovery

WILDLIFE Millions perished in storms last March that felled 100 acres of trees

The Dallas Morning News
10 Feb 2017

File Photo/Staff
A guest prepared to release a live butterfly from a box in September during an annual Grand Prairie event that celebrates the annual monarch migration to Mexico.

MEXICO CITY — The number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico dropped by 27 percent this year, reversing last year’s recovery from historically low numbers, according to a study by government and independent experts released Thursday.

The experts say the decline could stem from late-winter storms last year that blew down more than 100 acres of forests where migrating monarch butterflies spend the winter in central Mexico.

Millions of monarchs make the 3,400-mile migration from the United States and Canada each year, and they cluster tightly in the pine and fir forests west of Mexico City. Their numbers are determined by the area they cover. “The reduction in the area of forest they occupied this year is most probably due to the high mortality caused by storms and cold weather last year,” said Omar Vidal, head of the Mexico office of the World Wildlife Fund. “It is a clear reminder for the three countries that they must step up actions to protect breeding, feeding and migratory habitat.”

Officials estimate that the storms last March killed 6.2 million butterflies, almost 7.4 percent of the estimated 84 million that wintered in Mexico, said Alejandro Del Mazo, Mexico’s commissioner for protected areas.

While no butterfly lives to make the round trip, a reduction in the number making it out of the wintering grounds often results in a decline among those who return the next year.


ACC Monarch Flight School

November 2016 there were hundreds of Monarchs on the NRG campus. Many people casually commented as they walked around campus that this was the most they have seen in years. Well maybe our efforts are paying off.  In addition to the success of the gardens we have fostered several caterpillars late in the season that went to crystals and now we have our very first monarch butterfly hatchling. The last butterflies of the season are usually the biggest and sturdiest since they fly to Mexico and hibernate for several months until spring. Deanna Whaley and I, as well as other “citizen scientists” have been raising them in our offices to the wonder of others as they see these amazing butterfly. We plan on letting her go once the weather cooperates and warms enough for her to fly south.

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Processed with Snapseed.  img_8304

Update: Our monarch was set free December 12th, 2016. Last seen heading south.

ACC NRG Garden Group Gets a Helping Hand from the National Wildlife Federation
November 2016

Wonderful news for our garden group. The National Wildlife Federation Monarch  and Education Outreach and the City of Austin Nature-Based Conservation Programs has graciously offered to assist our garden group with resources for our gardens. This would include introducing us to growers and companies that supply the proper milkweed  for our region. Introduce us to garden stewards that have graduated from the NWF monarch garden training that will be willing to work along with us to increase and maintain our habitat with tips on organic insect treatment, selecting the proper nectar and shelter areas.

The City of Austin Nature-Based Conservation Program has offered to work with us and introduce us to local monarch garden resources including professional from the Ladybird Wildflower Center and Zilker Botanical Gardens. More to come soon.

ACC “Citizen Scientists”-are fostering a few monarch caterpillars.

November 2016 – Within the offices of Deanna Whaley and Kat Martinez they are rearing 4 caterpillars that will soon transform into their chrysalis stage and metamorphosis into monarchs with the hopes they will fly south before it gets too cold.


Zilker Botanical Gardens
September 2016

Tagged Monarchs headed to Mexico for the winter.
Photo taken at the Austin’ Zilker Botanical Gardens.



Monarch Appreciation Day at Zilker Botanical Gardens

Saturday September 10th, 9am-4pm.


Doing Our Part To Keep The Monarchs Off The Endangered Species List

Click on article below to see broadcast report.
Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.39.03 PM


Make It Your Thanksgiving Ritual
– Trim Back The Tropical Milkweed

Plan to prune the milkweed stalks to about 6 inches in height before Thanksgiving for the fall and winter months to discourage monarchs from establishing winter-breeding colonies. Cutting back the milkweed will also help to eliminate OE spores that may be present on the plant. Re-cut the milkweed every few weeks as leaves re-sprout. Tropical milkweed might pose fewer problems in the northern states monarch breeding range because it dies back naturally when it freezes.


Garden Group Meeting s16

Garden Group Meeting Attendees April 2016

l-r  Deanna Whaley, Cathy Tremaria, Nisha Patel, Vince Branch, Eva Busch, Karl Trappe.Frank Curry, Vince Simmons, Kat Watts-Martinez,


NRG Monarch Migration Waystation Habitat

After three years of planting the proper variety of food and habitat for the Monarch Butterflies, the Northridge campus has been awarded certification of being a Monarch Migratory Waystation Habitat. These are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration.

This is a very exciting and rewarding project. It’s amazing to think that in Central Texas we live in one of the largest migration highways for birds and insects traveling biannually from Mexico to Canada. I think it’s fantastic that we’re able to host a habitat where they can produce successful generations and be able to continue their migration. I hope our efforts will contribute to the Monarchs conservation.
Kat Watts-Martinez.

Monarch Sign Small.jpg


New Garden Sign Dedication May 3, 2016

Special Thanks to ACC Public Information and College Marketing Department for designing and purchasing 4 metal signs to display on campus.



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