In celebration of Earth Day, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Butterfly Forest opens on Sat., April 22. This enchanting exhibit showcases more than 20 species of winged beauties fluttering through the tropical botanicals of the historic Stove Room. From the well-known monarch to the striking zebra longwing, guests can get nose-to-antennae with these important pollinators and learn about the threats they face. Witness the miraculous emergence of butterflies from their chrysalises and gain a new appreciation for the important role they play in the environment. Butterfly Forest runs through Mon., Sept. 4.
In January 2017, the rusty patched bumblebee was listed as endangered for the first time, bringing the plight of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, to the forefront of a national conversation. “The biggest threats to butterflies, and all pollinators, are habitat loss, invasive species of plants and insects, misuse of pesticides, and climate change,” says Dr. Ryan Gott, Phipps’ integrated pest management specialist. Though it may seem like a warmer climate would benefit butterflies, it is actually a threat to them. “Pollinators are very in sync with the growth and activity of plants all year. Temperate winters and early springs can trigger plants to grow and bloom early. However, many pollinators do not develop or become active early enough to find these plants and pollinate them, and can't alter their own lifecycle timing quickly enough to adjust,” Gott says.
Pollinators ensure that many plants that we value reproduce and endure in our world — from the food we eat to aesthetically pleasing plants. “It is estimated that pollinators, including butterflies, provide about $24 billion to the economy each year,” says Gott. Get to know these important animals at Butterfly Forest — one may even land on you!
There are plenty of opportunities to learn about butterflies at Phipps. Adults can enroll in the Milkweed for Monarchs class and learn how to create and maintain a native plant area that benefits pollinators like the monarch butterfly. In addition, other classes on pollinators and backyard entomology will be available in the coming months for adults. For little learners, the Butterflies field trip moves through the lifecycle of butterflies and explores their anatomy, metamorphosis and ways they protect themselves in nature.Visit Event Website for More Info