TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Housing Authority paused its typical construction in the Encore! District to install something for a different type of resident.
"This area we're standing in right now is our technology park," shared David Hollis, grant administrator of the Tampa Housing Authority. "Our last step in this was to change out the entire landscape package to a more Florida-type landscape."
Hollis was there as THA transformed 1210 East Harrison Street from typical outdoor landscaping into a butterfly garden.
"What we're trying to do is get more plants out there for the bees, butterflies and birds, all the pollinators," said Anita Camacho, founder of the Butterfly Conservatory of Tampa Bay.
Encore! enlisted the conservatory to install plants that would be more attractive to native butterflies and be more Florida friendly in the Tampa climate.
"Butterflies are really an indicator species," shared Camacho. "The loss of these species and the decline in the insect populations is really a big indicator of the reduction of health for all of the food web all the way up to human health."
That is a practical use for the garden, but it holds a secondary purpose of providing beauty in an urban environment.
"It's just a tranquil spot in the middle of downtown in the middle of the community where they (butterflies) can come and enjoy that small bit of wildlife," stated Camacho. "This should be a place for the community to come to relax and enjoy all of the pollinators flying around."
Camacho is passionate about creating spaces like this for butterflies.
"Wildlife needs them and we need the wildlife," she said. "I call it flying art."
The butterfly garden is located at 1210 E. Harrison St. Tampa, FL 33602 on the south side of ENCORE!
More information about the Encore! project is availble here.
Learn more about the Butterfly Conservatory of Tampa Bay here.