Falling on Aug. 31, the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, the festival presents a delightful was to celebrate the holiday weekend.
“Despite a huge drop in the monarch population, we have caterpillars we are raising that will be ready for the festival,” noted Audubon Senior Naturalist Jeff Tome.
Tome said that from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. on that Saturday, Audubon’s auditorium will be transformed into a garden of wildflowers with butterflies flying about.
Visitors will be fascinated by monarchs in every stage of their life cycle, from tiny eggs through the caterpillar, chrysalis, and beautiful butterflies. Tiny eggs will be on display along with caterpillars of all sizes. Visitors can watch experts tagging the butterflies with stickers.
At 4 p.m., the butterflies will be released to fly to Mexico, where their tags will help scientists track the migration of this rapidly dwindling species.
Other activities include butterfly crafts for kids, photo opportunities with human-sized cutouts of a monarch butterfly and a caterpillar, tours of Audubon’s butterfly garden, and a plant sale aimed at getting more milkweed, the only food of monarch caterpillars, into the community.
Volunteers will help children and adults use insect nets outside to catch, identify and release butterflies on Audubon’s grounds. There will also be great food, and butterfly related items — including T-shirts — will be featured in the Nature Store.
Admission is $7, $5 for Friends of the Nature Center; two and under are free.
The Audubon Center and Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Rd., one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa. The center’s building, with a nature store and exhibits of live fish, reptiles, amphibians and more, and outdoors its five miles of trails, Bald Eagle viewing, arboretum, and gardens are open daily.
This event is made possible by the dedication of volunteers, several of whom are registered with RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
Festival sponsors to date are Herbs R 4 U, Phoenix Metal, United Refining, King’s Heating and Sheet Metal, and Lena’s Pizza. A T-shirt sale will raise additional funds for Audubon.
Details of the Monarch Festival are at http://monarchbutterflyfestival.wordpress.com. For more information about Audubon and all its programs, call (716) 569-2345 or visit http://jamestownaudubon.org.
For detailed instructions on raising monarchs and to follow the monarch butterfly migration, visit www.monarchwatch.org. Helpful hints on butterfly gardens are available at www.butterflywebsite.com.