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Audubon’s Monarch Butterfly Festival this Weekend

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Volunteers have spent much of the summer raising Monarch Butterflies for the Jamestown  Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s Monarch Butterfly Festival on Saturday, Aug. 30, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Audubon Senior Naturalist and Festival Coordinator Jeff Tome said, “With the Monarchs’ very existence being threatened, part of the purpose of the festival it to encourage a nourishing environment for these lovely creatures.”

Come and take pictures of Monarchs in every stage of their life cycle, and hold a caterpillar and watch experts tagging butterflies. At 4 p.m., watch them be released to fly to Mexico, where their tags will help scientists track the migration of this rapidly dwindling species.

Tome added, “This year, we are excited to have Jack and Diane Voelker at the Monarch Butterfly Festival. At the end of their migration, almost every Monarch Butterfly east of the Rocky Mountains ends up clustered in the Oyamel Fir forests high in the mountains of Mexico.  Every hour during the Festival the Voelkers will give a short presentation on the other end of the Monarch Butterflies’ migration.”

With a long-time interest in Monarchs, as the Voelkers watched the population plummet last year, they decided to visit Mexico before the phenomenon of Monarch migration disappeared from North America. Jack Voelker is the director of Chautauqua Institution’s recreation and youth services, where he has worked to plant milkweed, the only food of Monarch caterpillars, on the golf courses.

More festival fun includes tours of Audubon’s kids crafts, photo opportunities with human-sized caterpillar and butterfly cutouts, butterfly garden tours, a plant sale, great food, live animal exhibits, and visiting Liberty, Audubon’s resident Bald Eagle, in her outdoor habitat.

Festival admission is $8 or $6 for Friends of the Nature Center and children ages 3-15. Two and under are free.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania.

More details and information at www.monarchbutterflyfestival.wordpress.com, or call (716) 569-2345.

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