LUDLOW — In the coming weeks, a butterfly garden and memorial plaque will be placed at one of the raised flower beds outside of Harris Brook Elementary School in memory of former Ludlow teacher Elizabeth “Betsy” Koscher.

Koscher taught second and later fourth grade for Ludlow Public Schools from 1973 until her retirement in 2003, her husband and former Ludlow teacher Bill Koscher told Reminder Publishing. During this time, she taught at Chapin Street Elementary School, which is now the location of Harris Brook Elementary School.

Early on in her teaching career, Betsy Koscher’s love for science led her to begin teaching a unit on butterflies, Bill Koscher explained. Each fall just before the school year began, Betsy Koscher and her husband would hunt for milkweed leaves with tiny monarch butterfly eggs to bring home. Once the eggs turned to chrysalises, Betsy Koscher would bring them into her classroom for students to observe and learn about the butterfly’s life cycle, he said. When the butterflies hatched, the class performed a small ceremony outside to set them free.

“She would repeat this as often as she could until the cold weather came,” Bill Koscher explained, stating that Betsy Koscher continued to collect and release monarch butterflies even after she retired.

In addition to her butterfly unit, Betsy Koscher also hosted science and art summer camp sessions at the couple’s home in Ludlow and was a recognized artist. Camp sessions filled quickly, often had a waiting list and even welcomed children of past students, Bill Koscher explained, emphasizing that she was loved by her students and the community.

After Betsy Koscher died in September 2023, their daughter Adeline suggested she and Bill Koscher create a memorial. With support from Superintendent Frank Tiano and the School Committee, Bill Koscher developed a plan for a butterfly garden and memorial at Harris Brook, he said. Additionally, Adeline opened a GoFundMe page to help financially support the project.

The final garden will be located on a 10-foot by 4-foot raised flower bed at Harris Brook and include a variety of flowers and plants to attract butterflies, Bill Koscher said. The garden will also have a bench, memorial plaque and a brightly-painted butterfly birdhouse built by Leonard Charest, a former Ludlow teacher and colleague of Bill, for butterflies to use to rest. The garden’s flowers will both attract butterflies by color as well as provide a place for them to lay eggs and feed, he stated.

Community members have also offered to help Bill Koscher and his daughter with physically maintaining the garden moving forward, he said, emphasizing that the family was grateful for all the help and support they’ve received.

At 11 a.m. on May 11, the family will host a dedication ceremony at the Harris Brook with the completed memorial garden. A reception at the First Church in Ludlow will follow, Bill Koscher stated.

For more information, visit the GoFundMe page for Betsy Koscher’s memorial garden at gofundme.com/f/butterfly-garden-in-memory-of-betsy-koscher.

lmason@thereminder.com | + posts