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Omaha Correctional Center inmates plant habitat for monarch butterflies

Posted at 5:11 PM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 18:11:16-04

Here at the Omaha Correctional Center, inmates are putting their gardening skills to good use improving their environment and also creating a habitat for monarch butterflies.

It all started with a workshop in conjunction with Metro Community College called "Always Growing," where inmates worked to create landscaping projects to help the butterflies while learning to work together and see something through to the end.

To also get things started, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium donated 300 to 400 seeds of three different types of milkweed.

Inmate Ed Segura says there were a few issues to get through in the beginning, like flooding, but that didn't stop them.

"Once we worked through all those issues, things just come together, the plants responded. It was great seeing the monarch butterflies here, we saw some caterpillars, several of them."

Through the program, Segura has gained skills that will be useful once he is released.

"I was also able to apply and attain my applicator's license to apply restricted use pesticides through metro, so i was real thankful for that opportunity," Segura says.

OCC's grounds corporal David Moore adds that the gardens are helpful for the monarch and pollinators, but also for the inmates by providing some calming moments.

"I think the plants that are here are gonna help the inmates see that, you know, there's something good that goes on, not just brick and a fence and a cell to see everyday," Moore explains.

There are bigger plans in the works for moving forward with the gardens that will include a greenhouse coming in October.

"We're going to take our pollinator plants that we have, grow them and try to pay it forward to under-privileged schools and help out some of the other prisons that would like to have some plants that we could donate," says Moore.

Those involved have said it's exciting to see the garden continue to grow as well as the interest in the program.