Flittering, fluttering butterflies
Smiles and giggles are everywhere as each child follows his or her butterfly. The adults stand ready with their cameras and their own smiles.
Every year, The Butterfly Migration Celebration is held at the The Children’s Garden in Lima. It’s the biggest project Allen County Master Gardeners puts together.
Master Gardeners are dedicated to promoting and teaching environmentally sound research-based gardening practices. This is done through many different projects held throughout the year.
The Butterfly Migration Celebration — held on the second Sunday afternoon in September — is one such project.
During the celebration, children attending first receive information about the twelve fun, educational stations available to visit throughout the garden. Each station teaches them about the butterfly’s body, life cycle, and what they eat.
Examples of learning stations include:
• Coloring a butterfly
• Listening to stories by Hungry Hungry Caterpillar
• Playing butterfly bingo
• Playing the monarch migration game
• Vote for most beautiful butterfly
• Face painting and butterfly tattoos
Once at least five learning stations are completed, each child is given the opportunity to release a monarch butterfly. By now, they’ve learned how to identify whether the butterfly is a girl or boy and have the opportunity to name it, too.
The butterflies are cold and in small envelopes. The children gently hold the envelopes between their hands, and as the butterflies wake up, they start to wiggle. The envelope slowly opens, and the butterfly flaps its wings and comes out. Sometimes they just sit on the children’s fingers or arms. Sometimes the butterfly will take flight to the nearest flower. It’s always a surprise.
At the end of the day, the garden is full of monarchs sunning themselves. In all, about 150 monarch butterflies are released, and when their instincts kick in, they start their journey to Mexico.
To find out more, visit the Children’s Garden Facebook page or contact Gretchen Staley at 419-302-4234.
Roxanna Shoffstall is a member of the Logan County Electric Cooperative and a Master Gardener with Allen County.