Odyssey to a Butterfly Festival

Odyssey to a Butterfly Festival

by Lynne Jackson

Schnecksville, PA: The Trexler Game Preserve in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania was the site of a four-day butterfly festival the last weekend in September. Save the Pine Bush was invited to participate by Mary Beth Leeson, the Marketing Manger of the game preserve.

The main event of the festival was the daily releases of Monarch butterflies, raised by local school children and the staff of the game preserve. The butterflies are tagged, and then released at one time in the afternoon. The butterflies did not fly away in a dramatic show of orange and black wings, instead, a staff member gently placed individual butterflies on children’s hands (with careful instructions not to touch the wings). The butterflies would slowly flex their wings. As the butterflies warm their wings in the sun, the butterflies flutter faster, until they take off, one-by-one. Spectators are challenged not to step on the new butterflies as they pause briefly in the grass on their long journey.

Daniel W. Van Riper and Lynne Jackson made the 3 1/2 hour trip to the Game Preserve, which is about one hour north of Allentown. For the exhibit, Dr. Peter Spoor loaned his Karner Blue Butterfly Predation video. Made in 1996, this video features a short segment of the Karner Blue Butterfly larva secreting a substance for the ants which protect it. Most of the video shows wasps and ants killing, eating, and stealing Karner Blue butterfly eggs and larva.

Kathy O’Brien, of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, loaned beautiful slides showing the life cycle of the Karner Blue. These slides were made into photos for visitors to view.

Save the Pine Bush extends its thanks to Dr. Spoor and Ms. O’Brien for their generous contributions to the making the exhibit a success.

Printed in the October/November 2002 Newsletter

Leave a Reply