Butterfly education takes flight


By Alixandria Wells-Good

Contributing writer

The Champaign County Master Gardeners Volunteers have sponsored butterfly programs across the county.

Many of the programs began in April with site and classroom visits. The program gives participating library’s patrons and classrooms the opportunity to witness the life cycle of a butterfly up close and personal.

The Champaign County Master Gardener Volunteers completed seven site visits and 18 classroom presentations to approximately 672 Champaign County children in early April.

During the presentations, attendees were able to observe live caterpillars in an enclosed container, which stayed at each site for observation. Butterfly booklets created by the master gardeners, and perennial wildflower seed packages, sponsored by the Champaign County Soil Water Conservation District, were also presented to each attendee, and left at many of the sites for the caterpillar observers.

Many of the libraries in Champaign County participated in this program. Mechanicsburg Public Library hosted its caterpillars after the Master Gardener program and patrons came to observe them for 20 days through the butterfly life cycle. Mechanicsburg Public Library’s butterflies hatched on May 4, and a butterfly release presentation was held on May 8 where children and adults alike came to learn about butterflies, the Master Gardener program, and to see the painted lady butterflies be released into the wild.

Mechanicsburg Public Library’s youth librarian Caitlin Lloyd said, “It was a lot of fun checking every day to see what changes had taken place overnight. It was amazing to watch them grow from tiny, only one inch big, caterpillars to beautiful Painted Lady butterflies! I can’t wait to do this again next year!”

The St. Paris Public Library is beginning its butterfly program on May 15. The Champaign County Master Gardeners Volunteers will present at the library at noon.Their caterpillars will then remain at the library through their life cycle.

According to information provided by the Champaign County Master Gardeners Volunteers, this year’s annual butterfly program served over 1,500 children in Champaign County, including all 8 school districts and ESC programs, all 5 county libraries, the center-based Head Start preschool program, and several childcare programs.

Champaign County Master Gardeners Volunteers shared that this program, and several other of their programs, are supported by their fundraising and educational programs such as “make and take it” events, and the herb and plant sales at the Champaign County Farmers Market. The Champaign County Master Gardeners Volunteers can be found at upcoming farmers markets on Saturdays in May, with succulents, fresh herbs, and a DIY (or pre-made) teacup succulent planters.

According to the OSU Extension website, “The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested Ohio residents, who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohio residents through their local OSU Extension county office.”

Master Gardener Volunteers work closely with Extension personnel to provide educational programs and activities to their local communities. This can include answering gardening questions from the public, conducting plant clinics, gardening activities with children, senior citizens, or disabled persons, beautifying the community, and developing community or demonstration gardens.

Champaign County residents interested in joining the Champaign County Master Gardeners Volunteers can attend a monthly meeting held at the Champaign County Community Center on the second Monday of each month at 5 p.m.

Reach the writer at [email protected]

No posts to display