There are releases and releases

anne kilmer viceroy at
Fri May 5 10:01:12 EDT 2000

I've been working with schools in the South Florida area since 1987 or
so. When we began, classes were rearing and releasing Painted ladies, as
many classes still do. 
I think now it is more common for them to rear caterpillars from their
own butterfly gardens, which are then released. 
While that puts a gentle thumb on the scale in favor of the unfit (they
find the stupid, careless caterpillars, which then survive at the
expense of the canny ones) I am assured by the cognoscenti that it'll
all be the same in a hundred years. 
As for Paul and Neil, the butterflies are fortunate to have such sincere
well-wishers. Each might, however take a lesson from Albert the
Alligator, Pogo's friend, wo once remarked "Don't take life so serious,
son; it ain't nohow permanent."
None of us is right enough or wrong enough to matter, and while we
batter at each other, the spring is sliding by on greased skids. 
 Go outside and pester some nettles in search of caterpillars. That's
enough stimulation for most of us, and you can make a strengthening soup
with the young shoots, extending the useful life of the nettle vis a vis
the caterpillars. 
The green-winged whites are flying, hundreds of them (well, two, moving
very fast) and the speckled wood, though still solitary, is hopeful. The
copper beech is just unfolding its leaves, and, after a month of dark
rainy days, three full days of sunshine have forced even the columbines
into early bloom. 
I'm going out and play. Trees full of apple blossom, lilacs ripening
into bloom, already enticing the wandering butterflies ... 
And if you want to crusade, for Heaven's sake quit throwing stones at
each other and go lie in front of a bulldozer. Those are the bad guys. 
Anne Kilmer
County Mayo, Ireland

Michael Gochfeld wrote:
> Ken raised an interesting historical question. Were there butterfly
> releases in 1973.  I'm sure this list represents people of very diverse
> ages and very diverse localities and elementary schooling. We can
> identify our own experiences both regarding whether we raised and/or
> released butterflies in school and when we heard of butterfly releases
> at social events.
> I'll start.
> I graduated high school in 1957.  We did have a junior Audubon Society
> in 4th grade (birds only) and a school botanical garden, but no raising
> of butterflies.  We did dissect frogs in 10th grade biology.
>         I never heard of a butterfly release here in NJ until about
> 1990.
> Mike Gochfeld

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