Girl Scout helps create butterfly garden for Liberty Village residents with dementia

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This undated photo provided by Michael Thomas in April 2020 shows a clouded sulphur butterfly in Cromwell, Conn. In an April 2020 interview, Ann Swengel, a citizen scientist tracking butterflies for more than 30 years, recalled that a few decades ago she would drive around Wisconsin “look out in a field and you’d see all these Sulphur butterflies around. I can’t think of the last time that I’ve seen that.” (Mike Thomas via AP)

Geneseo High School student and Girl Scout Abbigail McGee has partnered with Liberty Village, a not-for-profit retirement community, to create a butterfly garden for residents with dementia to enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment.

The butterfly garden will be unveiled 4-5 p.m. Saturday at Liberty Village, 920 S. Chicago St., Geneseo. Abbigail will talk about her project and host a butterfly release in memory of those who have lost their battle with Alzheimer’s and in honor of those who continue to fight the disease.

The butterfly symbolizes hope for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of
dementia,, says a release from the Girl Scouts. Abbigail created the garden in memory of her grandfather, Samuel Splear, who passed away in April after a four-year battle with the disease.

“After learning about the new memory care program being built at the Liberty Village assisted living, I decided to explore the possibility of taking part in the landscaping,” Abbigail said. “Dementia patients can benefit from being outside and watching wildlife in their natural habitats. This has been shown to reduce anxiety and confusion.”

Abbigail is working toward a Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Her partnership with Liberty Village and creating a sustainable solution to support people with dementia will help her achieve this distinguished honor, the release says.

For more information, contact Maura Warner at or call 563-940-9635; or Taunya McGee at or call 309-945-8429.

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