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About Louise  

Uncas Skipper
(Hesperia uncas)

Caterpillar hosts: Blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) and needlegrass (Stipa).
Adult food: Flower nectar.

The Uncas Skipper can be found around short-grass prairie, sagebrush, open woodland.

About Louise Hallberg

Garden Roots
In 1883, John F. Hallberg bought 40 acres of scrub timber and brush on the outskirts of Sebastopol, initiating the roots of the Hallberg Butterfly Gardens. He and his wife, Louisa Neta Pearson, prospered on their ranch, which eventually spread to 130 acres. They raised hops, berries, cherries, prunes, pears, apples and three children. John was a trustee of nearby Oak Grove school.
Pipevine Swallowtail

In 1911, Alfred Hallberg, their oldest son, married Della Wirts and eventually assumed responsibility for running the ranch. He too was a trustee at Oak Grove School, where his two daughters, Louise and Esther, were students through the eighth grade. Della was an avid gardener and a charter member of the Graton Community Club, founded in 1914. In the 1920s, she planted a native vine, Dutchman's Pipe (Aristilochia californica) in her garden. Little did she know that over the next 70 years, her vines would spread, multiply and become a yearly feast for generations of the dramatic black and orange caterpillars which become beautiful black and teal Pipevine Swallowtails. Her plantings marked the beginning of the oldest butterly garden in the United States.

Louise attended Oak Grove Elementary School and remembers riding an electric streetcar to Analy High School in Sebastopol. After graduating, she went on to Santa Rosa Junior College and then to UC Berkeley, where she majored in Political Science. While there weren't a lot of job opportunities for political scientists in rural Sonoma County, Miss Hallberg came home to her family. For 35 years, she worked for Santa Rosa Junior College as Registrar. Louise worked at Santa Rosa Junior College She and her mother continued working in the garden, remaining active members of the Graton Community Club. Louise had been a member of the Graton Community Club since 1974 as well as being a lifetime member of the California Native Plant Society since the 1960s.

Book: A Class Visit to Miss Lousie Hallberg's Garden
Louise Hallberg, illustration by Kathy Geotzel

The Butterfly Gardens

When Louise retired in 1975, she began to concentrate even more on the plants, birds, and insects on her family land. The large populations of Pipevine Swallowtails nurtured over the years by Della's original plantings of Aristolochia inspired her to learn more about their life cycle, and butterflies in general. Her research fascinated her, especially when she realized that her actions as a gardener and landowner could have a big effect on the well-being of local butterfly populations. She worked tirelessly to educate people about habitat and butterflies. Her indomitable spirit and profound message inspire volunteers to continue her work in the gardens and give tours.

Louise looking at aflowering garden

Louise passed away in 2017 at the age of 100. She spent her life on the family land, with many family members nearby. She welcomed visitors like you to come share in the miracle of nature.

Louise studied Political Science at UC Berkeley

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