Press "Enter" to skip to content

Butterfly garden dedicated to enthusiast and professor Jeff Robb

The butterfly garden has been a lifelong dream of the late legal studies professor Jeff Robb due to his fascination with the insect, as well as owning a collection of butterflies when he was alive. At Texas Woman’s University, there are two butterfly gardens located on the campus. One of the butterfly gardens is located south of the ASCC building and the other one is located at the north end near the Texas Ponds and the Lowry Woods apartments

In 2019, the outdoor classroom that Rob envisioned began construction, and on Nov 7, the official inauguration for the garden occurred and was dedicated to Robb. 

“What is interesting about this classroom is that we didn’t initially have it in our plan,” chair of the garden advisory committee Camelia Maier said. “But thinking of the mission of the garden to become a teaching tool for our students and for outreach purposes, we decided that this is a very important infrastructure that we needed to have.”

Throughout his life, Robb collected a series of monarch butterflies and insects in order to create a restored ecosystem and envisioned a garden that offered hands-on experimental learning.

“It’s been a process of about five years or so,” associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Claire Sahlin said. “From the time the first plants went in the ground until what we have now, the idea went back to Jeff Robb, who worked with other faculty on campus until he died. To establish the gardens, it’s been a lot of hard work and sweat and labor of many, many people planting the plants, hauling dirt, hauling things, designing, working on a budget, getting grants, watering [and] weeding.”

Robb’s fascination with starting a butterfly garden began in 2015 when the US Fish and Wildlife Services and the National Wildlife Federation launched campaigns in order to spread the word about the declining population of monarch butterflies.

“He envisioned these butterfly gardens to have flowers [and] plants that bloom from spring all the way to winter to provide nectar and pollen and leaves for caterpillars and other butterflies,” Maier said. “We have work days each semester and in summer, long semester we have volunteers from different disciplines coming and learning about the garden and we have research projects with students. One of my students, for example, got a grant from the Native Plant Society of Texas for studying the relationship between the native plants and pollinators in our garden.”

Robb’s collection of butterflies was large, and his family ended up donating it to a university in Florida and UT Austin, where degrees in Entomology are offered. During the ceremony for the Jeff Robb Outdoor Classroom, Robb’s family was in attendance in order to commemorate his memory on Nov. 7. 

“The ribbon cutting ceremony was a way to recognize Jeff and for his contribution through the university, especially with establishing the butterfly garden,” Sahlin said. 

Clarise Tujardon can be reached via email at

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *