Friday, July 1, 2011

Butterfly Hunting

Taylor- Butterfly Hunter- 6 y.o.
This time of year is busy for Master Naturalists who are involved in the Bill Roston Butterfly House.  Following the covering of the house and installation of the interior and plants by Bob Childress and his crew, it is time to hunt native butterflies to repopulate the house.  Buck, Charley and I are out with other volunteers such as Roy and Kathleen, scouring the woods and fields for a variety of species.  My niece Taylor caught 30 by herself over the weekend of her visit.

We keep the butterflies cool to avoid dehydration and deliver them to the house where they find host and nectar plants and protection from predators such as birds and wasps.  They also find members of the opposite sex.

Our goal is to bring the life cycle of butterflies and moths to the public with a special emphasis on teaching kids about nature.  The house is staffed with volunteer docents to help visitors find eggs, larvae, pupae and identify butterflies as well as educate them on the importance of conservation.  Admission is free during regular hours*, and off hours guided tours are available through the Botanical Center.

Many Master Naturalists serve as docents and volunteers.  Rose Atchley has rebuilt her green house to raise host plants for the caterpillars.  Buck has built nets and the beautiful floral sign in front of the house.  We are all indebted to Scott Cunningham of FOG for coordinating activities in the house.

The Butterfly Festival is July 16th and 17th.  As these pictures from the 2010 Festival show, there is fun for all.  There are generally moths emerging from their cocoons all weekend.  This year there will be live music, free tram rides from the parking lots, expanded activities and lots of educational programs in the Botanical Center- and blessed air conditioning!

* The Butterfly House is open Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to 6 pm and Tuesdays and Wednesdays 5 pm to dusk through mid-September.

For a quick cram course on butterflies, go to


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  2. Cute photo, but I feel sorry for the poor butterflies, their freedom and life are been cut.