Soar Over to KWEC’s Butterfly Festival
GREAT BEND – All things “butterfly” will be the focus of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s (KWEC) Butterfly Festival from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 15. From puppet shows to tagging monarch butterflies, kids and adults will find plenty to do during this free and educational event.
New this year, the StoneLion Puppet Theatre will present “Bubba and Trixie,” a story of a scaredy-cat caterpillar too afraid to leave its leaf until it meets a fearless lady bug. Through their adventures – including the caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly – they form true friendship and face their fears. StoneLion Puppets will present three 30-minute shows at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., with a puppet craft in-between shows and walking puppets.
“We’re excited to have StoneLion Puppet Theatre present,” said Curtis Wolf, KWEC site manager. “And we’re hoping for a lot of monarchs for everyone to catch and tag, too.”
Nets and tags will be available for those who want to capture and tag monarch butterflies. Participants will receive information about the tagging process before heading out with a tagging leader to search for the butterflies. In the last three years, 16 tagged monarchs released at KWEC have been recovered from winter roosts in Mexico.
“It’s shaping up to be a good year locally for monarch butterflies,” said Pam Martin, education specialist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “We’ve been finding lots of caterpillars and adults in the KWEC pollinator garden.”
Weather permitting, an exhibit bee hive will be on display in the insect zoo in addition to fluorescing scorpions, giant walking stick insects, butterflies, caterpillars and chrysalises. Plan to spend the morning, as door prizes will be presented around noon, along with free milkweed plants (one per family). Information on butterfly-friendly plants and composting will also be available, courtesy of the Barton County Master Gardeners group, along with examples of butterfly-friendly plants in the KWEC pollinator garden.
Kids can play in the mud and make a seed bomb (soil mixture and native flower seeds) to take home to plant. Then, find your inner insect by taking your photo at one of the monarch butterfly or caterpillar photo boards and dress-up area. Kids can also create caterpillar and butterfly crafts in the class room, then refuel as a family with light refreshments and drinks.
Formore information, contact the KWEC at 1-877-243-9268 or visit wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu.