Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
On the Little Tennessee River Greenway, just behind The Shops at Riverwalk, is a butterfly garden built and nurtured for the last few years. Overseeing that garden has been Kay Coriell, along with many other volunteers with Friends of the Greenway. (FROG)
Explained Rita St. Clair, FROG’s current secretary, Coriell was in the original group of concerned citizens who desired and envisioned a walking, running, biking path along the Little Tennessee River in Franklin.
“She has been a member of FROG since its inception in 2001,” said St. Clair, “Over the years, she has volunteered at the coffee shop/gift shop at FROG Quarters, conducted many, many programs on nature-related topics, and written numerous articles on the many trees, birds, and plants found on the Greenway, which are now archived on the website.”
Because of Coriell’s involvement in FROG and her dedication to such projects as the Plants on the Greenway booklet, Memorials on the Greenway, and The Butterfly Garden, she was honored July 17 for the latter. While the dedication and unveiling of a sign at the garden that bears Coriell’s name was supposed to be opened to the public, only a handful of fellow FROG volunteers and the local media was present due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines.
Coriell, who will be 92 in September, was moved to tears during the sign unveiling.
“She has been on the Friends of the Greenway board and has served in every officer position,” said St. Clair. “During some very dark times, it was her contribution that kept the organization going as she filled several officer positions at the same time. Through her efforts, the Greenway is listed in the National Recreation Trails, included in the North Carolina Birding Trail, and the Butterfly Garden is registered as a North American Monarch Waystation.”
St. Clair shared that The Butterfly Garden has been Coriell’s “passion” since it began in 2006.
“She led the restoration and revitalization project of the garden in 2017 and continues to coordinate the plantings and maintenance needs today,” she said.
The public is able at any time to stroll through The Butterfly Garden and read kiosks about some of the flowering plants present, the life cycle of the monarch butterflies that migrate through Macon County and feed on milkweed – planted in the garden, and about other butterflies common to the area.
“We’ve planted close to 300 plants in that garden,” said St. Clair, who pointed out that volunteers are maintaining the garden most Tuesdays and that volunteers are always needed for FROG.
“I’m so glad the garden has provided the community such enjoyment and it’s certainly nice to be able to honor Kay with this sign,” added St. Clair.