Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter make rare public appearance ahead of former first lady's 95th birthday

(Special to FOX 5)

Former President and first lady Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter made a rare public appearance over the weekend.

The couple were spotted at a dedication ceremony during the inaugural Butterfly Daze weekend at the new Rosalynn Smith Carter Childhood Garden in Plains, Georgia. The new garden sits beside her childhood home.

The statue, created by Nevada’s Peter Hazel, shows eight stems which has attracted 18 different monarch butterflies, symbolizing the former first lady’s birthday on 8/18. From a distance, the tangle of stems appear to form a heart. Rosalynn Carter will be celebrating her 95th birthday this Thursday.

(Special to FOX 5)

The 12-foot tall statue has its stems made from steel and the butterflies are thick glass and mosaic tile. During the dedication ceremony, the statue was officially lit for the first time.

The piece, entitled "Dancing Monarchs," will be the centerpiece for the gardens that is being designed as an educational experience for STEM and STEAM related activities for students from Kindergarten through high school. Garden creators also hope to attract pollinators, including the monarch butterfly.

South Georgia Technical College students will have internship opportunities at the garden. The Friends of Jimmy Carter National Historical Park Foundation will also make it available for parties and weddings.

The couple have not been too public in the past few years. Within the past few years, the pair have battled through health scares, but have been in reasonably good health for a couple in their 90s. They self-isolated through the COVID-19 pandemic and got vaccinated as soon as they were eligible.

This past July, the couple celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary. The former President Jimmy Carter will turn 98 this October.