viceroy at gate.net
Wed Mar 6 06:21:34 EST 2002
I have hijacked the Spring Festival at Mounts Botanical Garden in West
Palm Beach on Sunday, March 10 (following Hans' fine piratical example:
Take no prisoners; recruit everybody).
It is now a Butterflies for Peace festival, and we'll be introducing the
Miami Blue Butterfly project as well, handing out the splendid
identification sheets that John Calhoun has made up.
We'll be showing live larvae and adults of 10 species of butterfly,
thanks to Colleen Wiggins, who has a private butterfly house and teaches
school children how to love butterflies and grow them in their gardens.
The Mounts has been a butterfly garden for many years now, and there
will be free-flying butterflies of many species, as well as many labeled
host plants and nectar plants in the exhibition area.
Jose from Amazing Butterflies will be donating and releasing Painted
Ladies, thanks to Rick Mikula and his negotiation skills ... they are
local bugs, and will, God willing, be dyed so that we can see where they
go. He's telling the school children to watch for them. There are plenty
of larval host plants available in the garden, of course, and
caterpillars are welcomed.
I wish some local collector would bring in some Miami Blues, dead though
they be ... at least people would get an idea of how big they are and
exactly what to look for. John's sheet is great, but there's nothing
like a real bug to let you know what it actually looks like.
Naturally I would prefer to display live ones, and next year I hope we
can do that. There should, by then, be so many of them that we would be
batting them out of the way as we walk through the garden.
We'll be gathered between 11 a.m. and 4, in case anyone cares to come by
and join in the fun. It's a great chance to talk to families, and to let
the kids tell you about their butterfly gardens. They are amazingly good
and enthusiastic. (There's a $3 charge for admission, but if you're
bringing bugs, email Wendy and me, and we'll sweep you in with grand
huzzahs and make you part of the display.)
Meanwhile, the International Butterfly Breeders' Association is working
on surveying South Florida, working with TILS leadership to find other
populations of the Miami Blue, set out larval host plants invitingly,
and prepare for the hoped-for permission to begin rearing Miami Blues in
the schoolyards of neighborhoods where the populations are found.
For now, they will find populations, educate neighbors, make sure that
suitable host plants are available to allow the colonies to expand
naturally, and educate homeowners in how to maintain and groom a
butterfly-filled balloon vine (for example).
So, all goes well, and I hope all of you can enjoy a similar celebration
of spring, butterflies and delighted children.
Mounts Botanical Garden is on Military Trail west of the Palm Beach
International Airport. The festival is being held at the west end of the
garden, near the Clayton Hutcheson Building.
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