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  • Ephrata Cloister

    Butterfly Garden

Cultivating a butterfly garden probably wasn’t a pastime for the Sisters.  Even though the Brothers would have understood the value of bees, they wouldn’t have given much thought to the beauty of a garden dedicated to them.  We modern folk, however, do appreciate the beauty of our native plants and see the need to create natural habitats to assure that butterflies and bees can indeed thrive.

Lauren Nedrow, a Conestoga Valley senior and vice-president of Venture Crew 1861 (a co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts of America), is working to make sure that butterflies will find a natural habitat on the grounds of the Ephrata Cloister.  Working in concert with Sue Fisher, her former teacher and a member of the ECA Board of Directors, Lauren created a plan, gathered materials, and assembled workers to complete the project. 

On Monday, April 22, she and local scouts in her Venture Crew 1861 of Gettysburg and Scouts BSA Troop 82 of Brownstown began to dig the site for the garden. The garden is located in the grassy area between the parking lot and the Visitor Center, set back closer to the trees and the picnic area.  Originally, they had planned to place the garden closer to the creek near the spring, but last summer’s heavy rains flooded the area frequently, making that site totally unsuitable for planting.

Lauren is excited about this Venture Crew project, which will help her achieve Summit rank, the highest advancement in the program. “The butterfly garden I am building will provide a much-needed habitat for some endangered butterfly species, as well as providing an additional natural attraction to the Ephrata Cloister’s historical site,” she commented.

On Saturday morning, April 27, the group placed brick edging around the garden plot, installed a bench, and planted seeds.  On May 11, other plants were added to enhance the garden. 

Now that the garden is completed, come and watch for butterflies!


An Interview with Lauren Nedrow: 

What has been your involvement with Scouting?

Lauren:  I first joined a Girl Scout troop when I was in third grade and progressed through that program until eighth grade, earning both the Bronze and Silver Awards for community service activities. Around that time, I joined Venture Crew 1861, which is a co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization. Since then, I have gone on many high-adventure trips including the 2017 National Scout Jamboree and a 100-mile canoe trip in the Allagash Wilderness Waterways this past summer. I currently serve as the Vice President of my Venture Crew, a position I have held since I was in 10th grade. This past year, I worked to co-found one of the first all-girls Scouts BSA Troops (Troop 82 of Brownstown), for which I have served as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster since February of this year.

What requirement does this project fulfill?

Lauren:  This service project is a requirement for my Summit rank, the highest advancement in the Venture Crew program. This rank and the community service project are very similar to that which is required of an Eagle Scout in the Scouts BSA program.

Why did you want to do this?

Lauren:  Besides this service project being a requirement for my advancement in the Venture Crew program, I am excited to work on this project to promote my local community’s environment. The butterfly garden I am building will provide a much needed habitat for some endangered butterfly species, as well as providing an additional natural attraction to the Ephrata Cloister’s historical site.

What have you learned in the process?

Lauren:  Through my planning for this project, I have learned a lot about gardening and endangered species as well as some important knowledge about how to create a healthier environment for my community.

Who will be helping you?

Lauren: As this is a Scout service project, I will have help from local scouts in my Crew (Venture Crew 1861 of Gettysburg) and Troop (Scouts BSA Troop 82 of Brownstown). Both groups have a strong community service focus, as the BSA organization encourages the development of environmentally-conscious youth.

What excites you the most about it?

Lauren:  This project will provide to me the opportunities to impact my local community while also assisting in the improvement of the environment. I am excited to encourage other people to be environmentally conscious and active in improving their local communities. 

What will be the most challenging?

Lauren:  The garden needs to be relatively self-sustaining with little maintenance, which will be the most challenging part of this project. The garden needs to be healthy and fairly long-lived in order to have the highest impact on the overall environment.

Ephrata Cloister

Administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission:
Josh Shapiro, Governor – Hayley Haldeman, Chair – Andrea Lowery, Executive Director

Ephrata Cloister is one of 26 historic sites and museums on the Pennsylvania Trail of History. For more information or to request a free 24-page visitor guide, visit or phone toll free 1-866-PATRAIL.

The Ephrata Cloister Associates is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, supporting the mission of preservation and education at this National Historic Landmark.

Anne Brossman Sweigart Charitable Foundation
Irene Weidman Charitable Foundation
Ephrata National Bank
Black Forest Brewery/Americana 1777 Inn
A Woman’s Club of Ephrata
The Historic Ephrata Cloister Summer Hours of Operation: OPEN 9am - 4pm Wed. through Sat. & OPEN 12pm - 4pm Sun. OPEN 9am-8pm Thurs. July 25th for Twilight Hours. CLOSED Monday and Tuesday.